Illustrated Olliver Twisted

31 Dec

I’ve decided to give myself an endorsement on my DIY Master’s Degree.  My endorsement shall be in “Children’s Adaptations of Classic Novels”: the faithful and the unfaithful.

Here’s the latest book. In addition to Oliver Twist, the book contains the following stories:

  • Bleak House
  • Great Expectations
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • David Copperfield
  • The Life and Times of Charles Dickens

I enjoyed the Usborne Illustrated Classics for Boys, but I take issue with this book of tales from Dickens.

Like the original story, Oliver is born in a workhouse to a mother who dies immediately after childbirth. 

Oliver grows up in the workhouse and says his famous, “Please sir, I want some more” line. 

The chimney sweep Gamfield is mentioned, but the appearance before the magistrate is omitted.  Oliver is apprenticed to Sowerberry and meets Noah Claypole. After fighting with Claypole, Oliver runs away to London and meets Dodger, Fagin, and Sikes.

Brownlow and his housekeeper are part of the story, but here’s where the minor changes become major changes.  The Maylie Family is never mentioned: not even once. And Grimwig?  He’s not in this book.

Prepare yourself for more changes!  When Oliver is shot during the house-breaking, it is Nancy who rescues him from the ditch where Sikes left him.  Nancy contacts Brownlow and brings Oliver to meet him on London Bridge.  They are followed by Sikes who shoots Nancy on the bridge. 

Sikes flees the gathering crowd by climbing on the roof of a nearby house.  Sikes is accidentally hung and the dog falls to his death.  I had to include the next illustration after yesterday’s post.

The book comes to a quick close when Brownlow produces Oliver’s mother Agnes’ locket.  He got it from Mr. Bumble’s wife Mrs. Mann.  Everything is quickly wrapped up and Oliver goes to live with Brownlow.

Remember Monks?  You wouldn’t from this tale.  He’s not included.

Oh, I get it… This story is from Usborne’s Illustrated (and incredibly, loosely based) Stories from Dickens.

I’ve enjoyed comparing the children’s books to the originals.  My two older children have read both of the Usborne Illustrated books that I’ve brought home from the library.  These little books are colorful and inviting, but I wonder if these adaptations are a good idea.  Someday in high school will they come back to me and ask, “There are four parts to Gulliver’s Travels?”  Or perhaps they’ll say, “Reading that kid’s version of Oliver Twist when I was eight was a little like watching a based-on-a true-story-made-for-tv movie: the character names were the same, but that was where the similarities ended.”


Posted by on December 31, 2011 in Oliver Twist


Tags: , , ,

5 responses to “Illustrated Olliver Twisted

  1. Jeannette

    January 2, 2012 at 9:09 am

    I hereby endorse your endorsement.

  2. Christina

    January 8, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    I endorse Jeannette’s endorsement of your endorsement.

    “based-on-a-true-story-made-for-tv-movie” *snort*


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