A Tale of Two Cities












Title: A Tale of Two Cities

Author: Charles Dickens

Publisher: Usborne Publishing/Dover Publications

Number of pages: 64, 304

Type of Book: Classic, Fiction

Age: 8+

Buy it here: http://product.chelisbookazine.com/product/a-tale-of-two-cities-young-reading-series-3/; http://www.amazon.com/Tale-Cities-Young-Reading-Three/dp/0746096984/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461361373&sr=1-2-fkmr0&keywords=a+tale+of+two+cities+by+charles+dickens+usborne+publishing; http://www.planetpublish.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/A_Tale_of_Two_Cities_T.pdf; free download here (unabridged version for older readers): http://www.planetpublish.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/A_Tale_of_Two_Cities_T.pdf

Price: N580; $1.98; $4.50


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…’ It was the period just before the French Revolution. The rich got richer and lived lavishly and the poor got poorer and suffered untold hardship and injustice at the hands of the rich.

Against this backdrop Lucie Manette’s life unfolds. Lucie is reunited with her father after eighteen years. He has been unjustly imprisoned in the Bastille for almost two decades for witnessing a murder. They return to a peaceful life in England until fate takes them back to France to serve as witnesses at a trial. In France, Lucie meets Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton who fall in love with her. After an eventful trial, the Manettes return to Engalnd with Carton and Darnay and Lucie marries Darnay. Again, life seems to be peaceful for the Manettes until Charles returns to France, during the French Revolution and is caught, tried and sentenced to death for committing treason. Read this book to find out how Charles escapes death, if he does.


UP: I enjoyed reading this book, first because it was a bit of fiction with a slice of history and secondly because it reminded me of Les Miserables. Dickens is a wonderful story spinner. My best character was the death spinner Mrs. Defarge who used knitting for a brand new purpose: to put down the names of aristocrats to be killed. The first line is also one of the best opening lines i’ve ever seen, second only to Lemon Snicket’s opening line in ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events: Book One’

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

This line stuck in my head for years! I read this book some twenty years ago and promptly forgot everything about it except this line. I recommend for older independent readers, boys and girls alike.

DOWN: The unabridged version might be a bit much for children especially because the diction is anything but simple but the abridged version is almost skeletal.


4.5 Stars 


  1. The two cities? London and Paris
  2. An extraordinary feature of Mrs. Defarge’s knitting? She knits the names of all the rich people to be killed during the Revolution.
  3. These two love Lucie Manette and look like identical twins? Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton.
  4. Charles Darnay’s secret identity? He is the nephew and heir to Marquis Evremonde, the much hated French aristocrat.
  5. Why was Lucie Manette’s father away for 18 years? Because he witnessed the death of a young boy and girl at the hands of Marquis Evremonde so the latter put him in Prison.

Visit Charles Dickens here: http://www.charlesdickensinfo.com

CHALLENGE: A Tale of Two Cities


  1. Write a 600-word essay on the French Revolution. (8 – 9 year olds)


  1. Write a 600-word essay on the following: a. The French Revolution. b. The Biafran War (10-12 year olds)

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 8-12 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Tuesday, April 26th 2016.

Next Book of the Week:

COMEDY OF ERRORS by William Shakespeare


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