Discovering the classics: captivating reads to ignite your child’s imagination
The classics are classics for a reason; they are stories that have not tarnished over time. But when trying to build a love of reading in our children, it can be hard to find wonderful texts that are age appropriate.
There are many benefits to abridged, illustrated versions of the classics– but what are they?
They colour your child’s creativity
Illustrations support the reader’s imagination by offering prompts. Unlike other types of media, such as film, the images in picture books don’t direct what the reader thinks. Instead, they offer a unique opportunity for children to use their natural curiosity and creativity to fill in the blanks of what is happening in the story.
They modernise classic tales
Talented artists have come together to illustrate and condense the Hinkler classics. The pictures and language have been updated so that these beloved tales can reach through time and be accessible to the tech generation, who will feel more connected to characters that are more representative of young people today.
They open the door to the past in a way that modern kids can understand
Part of the joy of reading classics is to submerge in the historical context surrounding the story. By experiencing literature from a different time, we develop more well-rounded thinking from the best writers of the ages.
Young people are often left out of the joy of experiencing some of the best literature available by the density of text and language that is sometimes beyond their reading level. By making them more age appropriate, the Hinkler texts open the door for children to discover not only their love of reading, but their love of reading widely. Children can return to the full texts when they are older and ready to re-experience the joy of the story in new and more elaborate ways.
They spark curiosity
Just like Alice’s curiosity for knowledge that leads her down the rabbit hole, the classics open the door for children to learn about the different social and cultural contexts surrounding each tale.
They’re short and sweet
It can be hard to find time to read the lengthy classics to our children. Abridgements offer a great alternative. Since they’re short, all the wonder and adventure is jam-packed together, making it easier for kids to concentrate on the story since they’ll get swept away by the fast pace.
A picture is worth a thousand words
Each of the Hinkler classics is filled with gorgeous, full-colour illustrations to accompany the text; but how do they help young people learn the history and story of the original text?
In the image below from Black Beauty, the illustrator has drawn the horses with large, emotive eyes to encourage the reader to humanise Beauty. In the face of the cruelty of his masters, Beauty shows the compassion that is lacking in his human counterparts, as his gaze is directed towards Ginger in concern.
Anna Sewell’s original novel championed the idea that humans should be kind to animals; and it is the pairings of these images with simplified text that allow the nuance of this story to be so wonderfully captured, but in shorter and more easily digestible fragments.
You can enjoy them together
The classics are enjoyable for kids and adults alike, so make for perfect bedtime reading.
When there is a gap between illustrations, ask your child questions such as “how do you think this character would feel now? What do you think is going to happen next?” And “what is happening in this illustration?” This will help build your child’s empathy for the characters, as well as their comprehension skills.
Peter Pan and Wizard of Oz make for good introductions to the classics. From there, see which your child prefers! If they love Peter, then hop aboard the Hispaniola and venture to Treasure Island. Prefer Oz? Then follow the white rabbit to explore the curiosities of Wonderland.
Lastly, enjoy your time reading together!