Oliver is an orphan living on the dangerous London streets with no one but himself to rely on. Fleeing from poverty and hardship, he falls in with a criminal street gang who will not let him go, however hard he tries to escape. This work conjures up the capital's underworld, full of prostitutes, thieves and lost and homeless children.
When Heidi is sent to live in the Swiss mountains with her bad-tempered old Grandfather, everyone in the village feels sorry for her. What will a little girl do in such an isolated home, and with such a grumpy companion?
Black Beauty is the prettiest young horse in the meadows, and spends many happy days under the apple trees with his friends Ginger and Merrylegs. But this easy life comes to an end when Beauty is sold and goes from farm to inn to cabhorse in London, enduring rough treatment from foolish and careless masters.
One boring summer afternoon, Alice follows a white rabbit down a rabbit-hole. At the bottom, she finds herself in a bizarre world full of strange creatures, and attends a very strange tea party and croquet match. This story provides a depiction of the experience of childhood.
Christmas won't be the same this year for Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, as their father is away fighting in the Civil War, and the family has fallen on hard times. But though they may be poor, life for the four March sisters is rich with colour, learn from their mistakes, nurse each through sickness and disappointments, and get into all sorts of trouble.
The Darling children are tucked up in bed when Peter Pan bursts in to their nursery. Peter and his mischievous fairy Tinker Bell entice Wendy and her brothers to fly away with them to a magical world called Neverland. There you can swim with mermaids and play all day with the Lost Boys. But you must watch out for pirates, especially Captain Hook.
The Walker children - also known as Captain John, Mate Susan, Able-Seaman Titty, and Ship's Boy Roger - set sail on the Swallow and head for Wild Cat Island. There they camp under open skies, swim in clear water and go fishing for their dinner. But their days are disturbed by the Blackett sisters, the fierce Amazon pirates.
Tired of spring cleaning, Mole ventures above ground into the warm sunshine, and happens upon his friend Ratty. Together they picnic on the sparkling, burbling river, brave the sinister Wild Wood in wintertime to visit the bad-tempered Badger, and take to the open road in a caravan with dear, silly old Toad.
Cassandra Mortmain's father was once a famous writer, but now he mainly reads detective novels while his family slides into genteel poverty. Her sister Rose is bored and beautiful, and desperate to marry riches. This diary deals with her extraordinary family and their crumbling castle home.
The five children - Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane and their baby brother - had often talked about it but when they are faced with the grumpy sand-fairy they find it difficult to make up their minds. And that is just the beginning of their dilemmas. As they discover, there is nothing quite like a wish for getting you into terrible trouble.
Emil is excited to be taking the train on his own for the first time. He doesn't like the look of his fellow passenger, the man in the bowler hat. Emil will just have to keep his wits about him and his money in his pocket. But Emil falls asleep and when he wakes up the man in the bowler hat is gone - and so is the money.
When young Jim Hawkins discovers a map showing the way to Captain Flint's treasure, he and Squire Trelawney set sail on Hispaniola to search for the gold. Little do they know that among their crew is the dastardly pirate Long John Silver. Will he escape from Treasure Island alive?
Katy Carr is the longest girl that was ever seen. She is all legs and elbows, angles and joints. She tears her dress every day, hates sewing and doesn't care a button about being called good. Her head is full of schemes and one day she plans to do something important. But a great deal is to happen to Katy before that time comes.
Having lost their parents in the chaos of war, Ruth, Edek and Bronia are left alone to fend for themselves and hide from the Nazis amid the rubble and ruins of their city. They meet a ragged orphan boy, Jan, who treasures a paperknife - a silver sword - which was entrusted to him by an escaped prisoner of war.
Long ago, at a time in history that never happened, England was overrun with wolves. But as Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia discover, real danger often lies closer to home. Their new governess, Miss Slighcarp, doesn't seem at all nice. Can Bonnie and Sylvia outwit the wicked Miss Slighcarp and her network of criminals, forgers and snitches?
Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy have grown up together in Orchard House with their friend Laurie next door, and now it's time for them to go out and find their places in the big wide world, to do the great and marvellous things they've dreamed of and discover their 'castles in the air'.
One by one the boys begin to fall...
In 1914 a room full of German schoolboys, fresh-faced and idealistic, are goaded by their schoolmaster to troop off to the 'glorious war'. With the fire and patriotism of youth they sign up. What follows is the moving story of a young 'unknown soldier' experiencing the horror and disillusionment of life in the trenches.
On a stormy night off the coast of Scotland, young David Balfour faces his terrifying test yet. He's been double - crossed by his wicked uncle, tricked into a sea voyage and sold into slavery. When the dashing Alan Breck Stewart comes aboard, he finds a brave friend at least, and pair fight back against their treacherous, black-hearted shipmates.
In any 24 hours there might be sleeping, eating, kids, parents, friends, lovers, work, school, travel, deadlines, emails, phone calls, Facebook, Twitter, the news, the TV, Playstation, music, movies, sport, responsibilities, passions, desires, dreams.Why should you stop what you're doing and read a book?People have always needed stories. We need literature - novels, poetry - because we need to make sense of our lives, test our depths, understand our joys and discover what humans are capable of. Great books can provide companionship when we are lonely or peacefulness in the midst of an overcrowded daily life. Reading provides a unique kind of pleasure and no-one should live without it.In the ten essays in this book some of our finest authors and passionate advocates from the worlds of science, publishing, technology and social enterprise tell us about the experience of reading, why access to books should never be taken forgranted, how reading transforms our brains, and how literature can save lives. In any 24 hours there are so many demands on your time and attention - make books one of them.Carmen Callil Tim ParksNicholas Carr Michael RosenJane Davis Zadie SmithMark Haddon Jeanette WintersonBlake Morrison Dr Maryanne Wolf & Dr Mirit Barzillai
'Ahoy! Ahoy! Swallows! Ahoy!' Have you ever sailed in a boat or built a camp? Have you caught trout and cooked it yourself? The four Swallows, John, Susan, Titty and Roger return to the lake full of such plans and they can't wait to meet up with Nancy and Peggy, the Amazon Pirates.
'Why do they call him Black Jake? Is it because of his hair?' Titty asked. 'Because of his heart' said Peter Duck. The Swallows and Amazons, as well as Captain Flint and the ancient able seaman Peter Duck, set sail on the Wild Cat bound for the Channel. Can the children race ahead and uncover the buried treasure before the pirate?
You know what it's like. Dark at teatime and sleeping indoors: nothing ever happens in the winter holidays. Or so Nancy thinks. Then the lake ices over completely and the Swallows and Amazons, along with Dick and Dorothea - 'the D's' - plan a race to find the North Pole. How will they reach it if they can't sail?
Simon is determined to become a painter when he grows up so he sets off to London to make his fortune. But the city is plagued by wolves and mysterious disappearances. The Twite household, where Simon is lodging, seems shifty. Before he gets a chance to open his glistening paints Simon stumbles right into the centre of a plot to kill the King.