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Double the trouble!
An original novel by Michael Rosen, told alongside the Dickens classic that inspired it: Oliver Twist.
Shona and her dad are moving house, and at Shona's new school, the rules are pretty confusing; she keeps getting into trouble without realising! It's a lot like how it is for Oliver Twist, that boy she's reading about in English class.
After Shona is unexpectedly given a mobile phone, she begins to suspect there's something fishy about the new boys she's met. Where did the phone come from? And some gifts, she soon learns, aren't exactly free....
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- K. J. Kelly
Two-pronged Oliver story...
Two-pronged Oliver story, using the original alongside a modern school setting.
Rosen inserts extracts of Dickens into a school story of a new girl having trouble keeping out of it. Shona has moved to a new school, and is very sensitive about her home life and family, her Dad's benefits have been stopped. As she meets people and must decide whether to trust them or not, her class reads parts of Oliver Twist which interact and mesh with events in the real world.
It's a great way for readers to access the classic, making it an adaptation that uses the text, shortened, but keeping the story pretty much intact.
I've read Oliver Twist, but a while ago, so some of this seemed unfamiliar. It could be understood by fairly young readers though, top end of primary school won't have trouble with the language of the extracts selected.
Shona is sympathetic, though I didn't really feel anyone else stood out as a character in school. I was most interested in this to see the connections between the Dickens and the school story. Great idea, and it worked well. Would hopefully be useful in classrooms for KS2/3 lessons on PSHE, Victorians, Dickens.
Rosen reads the book himself, and as a well-practiced speaker, he's an engaging narrator. Oliver Twist works when read aloud, as the narrator of this is also talking direct to audience at times.
With thanks to Nudge Books for the sample Audible copy.