19 July 2019

Of the many stories that have been told, written and shared across generations, there are some stories that endure. These stories hold a special place on bookshelves to be treasured in hearts around the world, revered as Classics.

For grown-ups, the Classics are tales that we’ve all grown up with; they’re stories that form part of our common cultural experience and knowledge.

Here at Hinkler, we’ve adapted some of the world’s best-loved classic stories – The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island, Black Beauty, Peter Pan and Wind in the Willows – to introduce these charming tales to younger readers. Today we are exploring 6 lessons from these classic tales!

Greed is Definitely Not Good

In Treasure Island, young Jim Hawkins embarks on a quest for hidden treasure in Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale, when he first meets the old sailor Billy Bones in his parent’s seaside inn, The Admiral Benbow. As a young boy in search of adventure, Jim is suddenly thrust into a dark world of piracy, where in their quest for buried gold, men who present themselves as friends are almost always foes and not to be trusted. Jim finds his own moral compass, of what is right and wrong, and above all else, learns that greed is not good!

Knowing Yourself and Accepting Difference

In Alice in Wonderland, the one question Alice is asked by the Caterpillar is “Who Are You?” Alice doesn’t know the answer to this question, and it takes the length of Lewis Carroll’s glorious novel before she really finds out. It’s Alice’s curiosity that leads her to discover a whole lot about accepting difference, standing up for herself against bullies (such as the Queen of Hearts) and gaining her own self-belief and fortitude despite others puzzling remarks (the Cheshire Cat and Mad Hatter).

No-one Can Take Your Dreams Away

In the marvellous tale of Peter Pan, Peter is a mischievous boy who can fly who shows the Darling children – ensconced in their parents’ city life of routine and responsibilities – to look for pixie dust and magic in the every day. Peter Pan embodies a desire to never grow up and, in that desire, he lives his dreams and does exactly what he likes (the dream of every child, everywhere!) Peter fiercely protects his freedom and sense of adventure (fighting and tormenting the dastardly Captain Hook while doing so), eschewing responsibility with his retreat to the wonderful dream world, Neverland.

Kindness is Key

Black Beauty is a carefree colt enjoying a wonderful home, with a kind and caring master. Then the beautiful young horse is sold and separated from his friends. So begins an extraordinary journey through life for Black Beauty that brings pain, suffering, loneliness and hardship. As a horse, Black Beauty is powerless, and his life is at the mercy of his masters. Some of his masters are kind, while others are not. This story, told from a very unusual perspective, reminds us to always be kind and look out for others, and to never abuse our own power (should we have it).

There’s No Place Like Home

When Dorothy and Toto, from The Wizard of Oz, are whisked from their life on a Kansas farm to the fantastical Land of Oz life could not seem more exciting. Yet, after a terrifying run-in with the Wicked Witch of the West, Dorothy learns that she must follow the Yellow Brick Road if she is to return home to her beloved Aunt Em and Uncle Henry. On her journey, Dorothy meets the Scarecrow who wants a brain, the Tin Man who wants a heart, the Cowardly Lion who wants some courage and, of course, the mysterious wizard himself. This enduring tale of friendship and adventure reminds readers that there truly is no place like home, among those who love and care for you.

The Importance of Friendship

The Wind in the Willows tells a tale of friendship and travel. When four friends mess about on a boat, they embark on many adventures along the riverbank, in the Wild Wood and at majestic Toad Hall. Shy reluctant Mole, kind and friendly Rat, brave loyal Badger and faddish, fun-loving Toad each bring something different to this charming story of friendship and adventure. They pull each other through scrapes and comical mishaps, relying on their unique strengths and differences to get them through each day!

One of the greatest delights of reading is the discovery of new worlds and befriending characters completely different to us.

Alongside our fictional friends, we’ve learnt the importance of kindness, bravery, friendship and love.

And these lessons, of course, are classics.

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