April 23 is World Book Day or World Book and Copyright Day. We asked
readers to send in reviews of their favourite classics. Some of them
sent in reviews of great books that are not technically classified as
"classics". Since they are good reads, we have decided to feature those
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
A ten-year old orphan, adopted by her uncle, leads a miserable life in
her aunt’s house, after her uncle dies. Of course, it’s Jane Eyre. The
book is a storehouse of values, and took the world by storm when it was
Though written in 1847, it is a good read even today. Jane Eyre, the
protagonist, fights her way out of difficult circumstances with a great
deal of courage. First, it is the ill-treatment meted out to her by her
aunt, then it is the death of her best friend Helen Burns, and finally
it is the revelation that her lover Mr. Edward Rochester is already
She completes her studies and then works as a teacher. Yearning for
change, she applies for a job as a governess for a little French girl,
Adele. It is here that she falls in love with Mr. Rochester. They plan
their wedding meticulously, but at the deciding moment, it is revealed
that Mr. Rochester is already married and his wife is still alive. From
this point the story takes many twists and turns. It is for you to read
and find out: Does Jane Eyre marry Mr. Rochester?
This novel tells readers about the need for boldness, courage and
adjustment contributing to a prosperous life. It is both an entertaining
as well as a realistic novel. It is a must read for everyone, young and
Simran, X, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Tirumalgiri, Secunderabad , Andhra Pradesh
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
A funny and unique children’s story of Alice's confrontation with an
eccentric world. The events that take place in a bizarre “Wonderland”
are spontaneous and fantastically unplanned. The characters are
remarkably amusing and entertaining. The language is figurative that
takes the reader to the realm of true imagination. Enchanting!
Anand Mishra, X, Jindal Vidya Mandir, JSW Township, Bellary, Karnataka
The Room on the Roof by Ruskin Bond
This is the story of Rusty, a 16-year-old Anglo-Indian boy who is
orphaned and has to live with Mr. Harrison, his guardian. He lives in
the European part of Dehradun. But he wants to embrace the Indian
culture and lifestyle.
He is enchanted by the festivals, people and the bazaar. He meets many
people and develops a liking for Meena, his friend Kishen’s mother.
This story keeps you hooked with the many unexpected incidents. The
story is a bit similar to that of the author himself. One incident in
Rusty’s life is when he goes to the unkind Mr. Harrison after playing
Holi with his Indian friends and shows him what he really wants — his
friends and the culture.
It’s a book worth reading! It will be enjoyed by readers greatly. This
book is also the winner of the “John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize”.
Nivedya S.,VI A, Devagiri CMI Public School, Kozhikode, Kerala
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
It is the story of a boy named Mowgli and his friends Bageera, the panther and Balu, the bear.
Mowgli grew up in the jungle with a wolf family. They called him the
“Man-cub”. Once a tiger named Sher Khan came to the jungle. He wanted to
eat Mowgli . So Bhageera thought that he will take Mowgli to the
man-village to keep him safe. At night, they climbed a tree and fell
asleep. A snake called Kaa came to eat Mowgli but Bageera saved him.
That morning they heard trumpeting of elephants. Mowgli didn’t want go
to the man-village because he thought that his house was in the jungle.
So he walked away. Then he met a bear named Balu and they became
friends. When they were swimming in the river some monkeys took Mowgli
away to their king. Balu dressed like a big monkey. He fooled all the
monkeys and saved Mowgli. That night Sher Khan saw Mowgli and was about
to eat him. Smart Mowgli tied a branch full of fire to Sher Khan’s tail
and he ran away. Bageera and Balu took Mowgli to the man-village. Mowgli
saw a little girl taking water from the river into a pot and became
friends with her. Mowgli and the girl went to the man-village. Bageera
and Balu returned happily to the jungle.
My favourite character in this story is Mowgli because he is very cute and very naughty.
Muhammed Saleel, Grade -1, Al-fajr International School, Chennai
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
Main Characters: Harris, George and Montmorency
Description of a main character: Harris is the funniest of all three men
and he is the only one who is not pleased with any work except his own.
He misses the boat in the dark. He tries to cook for his friends using a
sack full of vegetables and falls into the Thames. He tries to speak in
Setting/Theme of the story: Three men decide to travel in a boat in search of rest and a change of scene.
Part I enjoyed the most: When Harris is compared to Uncle Podger as he
is ready to take the burden of everything upon himself and put it on the
backs of other people. He says: “Now, you get a bit of paper and write
down, and you get the grocery catalogue, George, and somebody give me a
bit of pencil, and then I will make out a list.”
Sandhya Varadharajan, VIII, PSBB, Chennai
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
This imaginative book is set on two islands, Lilliput and Brobdingnag.
The main character is Gulliver; the other characters are the
Lilliputians and the giants of Brobdingnag. Gulliver sets sail to the
South Seas for adventure. He gets lost at sea because a storm wrecked
his ship. First he finds himself in a land of little people and then in a
land of giants. I like the story and characters because they are
creative and original. I love adventure stories and this is a very
Ishaan Trivedi, V, Primus Public School, Bangalore
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
I enjoyed reading Robinson Crusoe. This story tells the hardships of a
man who finds himself in an unknown land and how he struggles to live
there, his courage and determination. It is an inspiring story of one
man’s struggle to make a living.
Arya Murali, X, MMARS, Chengannur. Kerala
The Coral Island by R.M. Ballantyne
Shipwrecked, three teenagers, Ralph Rover, Jack Martin and Peterkin Gay,
find themselves on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean. Ralph is the
narrator and he recounts some extraordinary adventures as the teenagers
become accustomed to life on this remote Coral Island. What begins as a
paradise idyll soon becomes harsh reality as the boys encounter both
pirates and Polynesian tribes.
A story of survival and dependence. A story that is full of adventure.
Gopika. G, XI, Carmel School, Thiruvananthapuram
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy March are four sisters living with their mother
in New England. Their father is away serving as a chaplain in the Civil
War, and they struggle to support themselves and keep their household
running despite the fact that the family recently lost its fortune. They
become close friends with their wealthy neighbour, Theodore Laurence,
known as Laurie.
In the end all the loose ends are tied up and the story ends on a positive note.
Anjali. P. Nair, XII, Bhavans Vidya Mandir, Eroor, Tripunithura, Kerala
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
This book, which provoked the sophisticated Victorian society, was
released in 1890. In our present day world, it is widely acknowledged as
Wilde's masterpiece, his unparalleled Magnum Opus. It centres around
three characters, the noble Lord Henry Wotton, the artistic Basil
Hallward and the handsome Dorian Gray. It is about how society is
obsessed about the way they look to the rest of society. It focuses on
how Dorian is obsessed with his beauty, who is indeed the Narcissus of
our age. The story begins with Basil introducing Dorian to Henry. From
there onwards, it soars into magnificent heights of indescribable
literature. Basil paints Dorian’s portrait on his wish so that he may
remain youthful and his picture may grow old. What this brilliant book
reflects is the mind of society and indeed, it deserves to be called a
great work of art.
Rohan Gopakumar, VII D, St. Thomas Residential School, Mukkolackkal, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Life is complicated and mysterious. No, wrong. It is simple and
wonderful. This is what The Alchemist taught me. By Brazilian author
Paulo Coelho, this book has been on the best selling lists since it was
written over 20 years ago. It has been translated into many languages
too. Through a story of a young shepherd on a quest for treasure, it
tells us the importance of following our dreams and writing our own
destiny. It is an inspirational book and is written in rather simple and
easy to follow language. Even after two reads, I couldn't get the most
of it. Every time I read it I learn something new. A life changing book,
definitely worth a read, if not two!
Shashank Rao Palety, XII, Delhi Public School, Vijayawada
Geronimo Stilton by Elisabetta Dami
My friend told me about this book, and I wanted to read it. I was waiting for this book to come.
I felt sad for Geronimo Stilton because nobody came to help him. I was
surprised when Trap brought all Valentine's things to his friends. Trap
made me laugh at the silliest things. I liked the jokes and the way the
story is written. This book was easy to read. Geronimo Stilton reminds
me of a friend of mine. My favourite part is when Benjamin hugs
Geronimo. I wish I could meet Geronimo Stilton.
I loved this book and asked my father to buy more books of Geronimo Stilton!
Zarah Mathew, III, Trivandrum International School, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
Thomas the Tank Engine by Rev W. Awdry
The book is about an engine named Thomas. It is a cheeky little engine.
He pulls coaches for big engines. But what Thomas really wants is his
own branch line. Thomas always plays tricks on other engines. He helps
his friend James and finally he gets his own branch line.
The line I like the most in this book is “Wake up Lazy bones! Do some
hard work for a change”. I say this whenever I get an opportunity.
I gifted this book to many of my friends and cousin and they also like it very much.
Gozan Zerlinda, LKG C, Alpha Matriculation School, Chennai
1000 Great Lives by Plantagenet Somerset Fry
The book is exhaustive. It contains the illustrations of 1000 great
lives which include not only British but also Indian rulers. I was
interested in this book because it gives a life history of great people
who made history and their achievements were recorded for posterity. The
entries were arranged in the order of date of death because in the
lives of famous persons great importance is given to the date of death.
This arrangement makes it possible to find nearly all the great lives of
one period in history together and place them more accurately in
relation to other prominent figures of that age.
This book is a treasure for all history lovers.
M. Sreekar, VII, Narayana E Techno School, Varadaraju Nagar, Tirupati
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Written over a span of about two years, The Diary of a Young Girl is
full of thoughts and expressions of a young, ordinary Jewish girl living
in extraordinary conditions. She starts her diary when she is 13 and
called it Kitty — her ever patient and understanding friend who stood by
her through good and bad times. Anne wrote about her daily activities
and also about the changes taking place around her during World War II.
The diary provides a vivid historical and social background to her life
and thoughts. The diary reveals Anne’s innermost thoughts, feelings,
frustrations and ideas. The diary records all that happened in the 25
months that Anne and her family were in hiding. Her recordings of her
emotions and moods are touching. In August 1944 their hiding place was
discovered by the Gestapo, the German Secret Police. All the eight
members in hiding were sent to concentration camps in Germany where all,
except Otto Frank, died in the hands of Nazis. When Otto Frank came
back to the hiding place after war, he found Anne Frank’s diary and
letters. He circulated the diary in memory of his family. The book is a
major piece of world literature and brings home the excesses of the Nazi
regime. The book is easy to read and can be completed in a couple of
M. Vasudha, X A, Kendriya Vidyalaya No1. Tirupati
Last week we asked readers to send in reviews of their favourite
classics. Most of the entries were not reviews, but simply retelling of
the story. Here are some tips on how to write a review.
Writing a review is like taking a person to a place he
or she has not been to before. It is up to you to paint a picture that
not only appeals but also evokes an interest.
Begin with a description
of what the book is about. But make sure you do not tell the whole
story and spoil it for other readers. So keep it brief. If the book is a
part of a series then mention that too.
Discuss why you liked the book. What appealed to you the most. Your favourite character? Suspense? Descriptions? What emotion did the book evoke?
Make a mention of what you did not like about the book. Did you find the ending too tame or did you think the protagonist was not powerful enough?
Summarise your opinion of
the book, making suggestions as to what kind of person the book would
appeal to – like young adult, or those who love mystery or romance or
drama and so on.
You could also grade the book on a scale of ten.
Look forward to the holidays with these fantastic titles at hand.
THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ by L. Frank Baum
Dorothy lives in Kansas and has great dreams. One day a cyclone lifts
her and drops her in the enchanted land of the Munchkins. Here she meets
some fantastic characters — the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman, the
Cowardly Lion and the Wicked Witch of the West. A book full of adventure
and fun it has brought joy to generations of readers since its first
appearance in 1900.
JUST SO STORIES by Rudyard Kipling
you ever wondered about the nature of things? Like the elephant’s
trunk, the leopard’s spots, the song of the whale and oh! so many more
things? This book will answer most of those questions. It is best to
read the Just So Stories aloud, because the prose is lyrical, sing-song
and sometimes even with made up words. These 12 stories were written for
Kipling’s daughter and they were so named because she wanted them “just
KING ARTHUR AND HIS KNIGHTS by Howard Pyle
world of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table are magical. It
is a chronicle of the adventures of King Arthur as he draws the sword
Excalibur from the anvil and proves his claim to the throne. It is a
story of love, treachery, scheming but also of victory, chivalry and
drama. Pyle tells a forceful tale bringing alive the past vividly.
THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London
The story is set in the late 1800s. Buck, a large dog, lives a
comfortable live on an estate in California. One day, he is kidnapped
and transported to the Yukon to be a sled dog during the gold rush. He
tries to rebel but is beaten into submission. This is a story of
survival, of a call to the roots and also of finding your inner dignity
and what it takes to be a leader. It is interesting to read how Buck
reverts to his Wolf ancestry when the need for survival kicks in.
PETER PAN by J.M. Barrie
Darling nursery gets a visitor one night. It is Peter Pan. He meets the
Darlings — Wendy, Michael and John. He becomes friendly with them, and
teaches them to fly and takes them to visit the Lost Boys in Neverland.
They have a lot of adventures and get into a fight with Captain Hook,
the evil leader of the pirates. But they also have a friend in little
Tinkerbell, the fairy.
Interestingly written, Barrie
takes you into a world hitherto unknown. You fly in the night sky with a
wonderful friend and get to meet exciting characters. Barrie’s prose is
a mix of wit, sadness, excitement and poetry. A fantasy story that you
would love to read.
THE RAILWAY CHILDREN by E. Nesbit
Peter and Phyllis live a happy life with their parents in a villa in
London. Then one day everything goes topsy turvy when their father
leaves them to “go on business” as their mother tells them. They have to
leave the home they love and move to the countryside to a much smaller
house. They discover a railway track that runs behind their new home.
Everyday they wave at the 9.15 train, as that is the train that goes to
London, and they believe their father works there.
lovely story that revolves around the small happy family – always hoping
that the father would come back. There is adventure when they discover
stones on the track, a house on fire and an accident in the tunnel. It
is beautiful, told in simple language and sure to touch your heart.
THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS by Kenneth Grahame
story opens with Mole who is doing some spring cleaning. He makes
friends with a few others who live by the riverside. There is Toad,
Ratty and Badger. The four friends have a wonderful time living as they
do on the banks of the river. Toad has an obsession. He loves to race in
his horse and cart. And then one day his obsession gets him arrested.
Portraying typical English humour this is a wonderful story of
friendship and how friends make a difference in one’s quality of life.
It is the very epitome of British, Gregorian upper middle class and
though the characters are completely humanised, they still retain some
of their animal characteristics. Be ready to laugh aloud every few
CHARLOTTE’S WEB by E.B. White
lovely story of friendship and love. An inspiring story for all as it
tells us the importance of friends and how we should be treating one
another. A tinge of sadness sets in at the very end but then there is
still the message of hope.
Charlotte is a spider and
with the help of a rat, they manage the save Wilbur the pig from the
knife. A must read for every child.
(The Hindu, Young World, 23:04:2013)