Charles Dickens: Scenes from an Extraordinary Life – by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

Anyone who is familiar with Manning and Granstrom’s work will welcome this book as yet another stunning example of their meticulous research, detailed art work and highly informative text.  Each opening describes part of the story of Charles Dickens’ life, from his birth in Portsmouth via his father’s incarceration in Marshalsea debtor’s prison to the development of his career from reporter to world-famous author.

Information bursts from every page in text boxes which provide historical and social background, biographical detail and first person quotations from a wide range of Dickens’ own writings.  Laugh with a precocious nine year old Charles as he entertains adults in the local inn; fear for him as he gets lost in London just two years later; commiserate with him as he is forced to leave school and go to work in a boot polish factory, aged just 12.

Discover the inspiration for many of your favourite characters amongst Dickens’ own family and friends. Read some of his novels, précised in graphic form. Journey with him to America and observe his rapturous welcome. Smile as catches fire during a trip to the crater of Mount Vesuvius. Tour the dangerous streets of London to understand the background to his social commentary and finally mourn the early death of a much-loved literary giant.

Readers are drawn into this biography as they travel through Charles Dickens’ life alongside him. The wealth of detail, both in text and image, will ensure that a beautiful book is visited time and time again. It is an essential purchase for anyone wanting to celebrate the 2012 bicentenary of Dickens birth with children, whether in the classroom or at home.

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