I said I wasn’t going to ‘do Dickens.’ The 200th celebrations have been plentiful without me. But I couldn’t resist this ‘picture book’ by Brita Granström and Mick Manning. I have learned more from their brief, non-fiction book than I would from most longer and perhaps ‘worthier’ works. Possibly because I tend to switch off after a while, and this was just the right length.

Charles Dickens, Scenes From An Extraordinary Life contains the bare bones of facts while depicting the life of Dickens in great detailed drawings, sometimes cartoon style. A picture really can replace a lot of words.

The reader follows Dickens from when he was a very noisy baby all the way to his funeral 58 years later. And because his life is shown like this, you can stop and say to yourself, ‘that’s rather like it was in [insert title of Dickens novel],’ and you realise how he got some of his ideas.

Mick Manning and Brita Granström, Charles Dickens

And once you’ve had that thought, there is a short cartoon style summary of the very novel you had in mind. And whether you’ve not read it or have difficulty remembering just how it went, well, don’t expect to get it here! Just enough to get you interested, at which point you’re told to go read the book. So only a shortcut to tell you about it. Not a shortcut to reading the novel. No cheating.

I’d like to think that any young reader who knew nothing about Dickens, or who thought he’d be a boring old man, will most likely want to start on their own first Dickens, about Oliver or Nicholas or Martin. Or any of the others.

I could get used to this kind of book; a brief wiki in pictures. Let Brita and Mick do all the hard work. Let me enjoy.


One response to “Dickens

  1. Looks really interesting, Ann – great idea. Thanks for posting!

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