Tag Archives: Charles Dickens

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


A Christmas Carol


Title:  A Christmas Carol

Author: Charles Dickens

Publisher: Usborne Young Reading             

Number of pages: 64          

Type of Book: Fiction, Classic

Age: 8-12

Available here: http://product.chelisbookazine.com/product/a-christmas-carol-young-reading-series-2/; https://www.jumia.com.ng/jumia-books-collins-big-cat-christmas-carol-band-10white-2035003.html ; http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Carol-Barnes-Collectible-Editions/dp/1435149106/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1451051444&sr=1-1 ; read the original/unabridged version for free here: http://www.ibiblio.org/ebooks/Dickens/Carol/Dickens_Carol.pdf

Price: N580; N2,028; $7.18


Scrooge was a cold-hearted penny-pinching miser who hated Christmas. He hated Christmas for many reasons, some legitimate, some not. He hated Christmas because as a child, he was left alone in boarding school during the holiday; as a young adult, his girlfriend dumped him during the Christmas season; and as an adult, his colleague died on Christmas Eve.

But he also hated Christmas for some unemotional reasons; he thought it was an expensive holiday and people did not work! When asked to donate money to a charity to feed hungry children during the season, he asked if there were no more prisons and workhouses to take care of these children. In summary, Scrooge was a bitter, selfish and mean man who was obsessed with wealth and had no love for his neighbors.

However, one christmas, everything changed. Scrooge was visited by four ghosts who tried to transform him into a kind, generous and sensitive human being using visions of his past, present and future.

Read the book to find out how the ghosts tried to change Ebenezer Scrooge and whether or not they succeeded.


UP: Dickens’ amazing use of dry humor to entertain! However the major highlight of the book is that it tries to spread the spirit of Christmas, a spirit of giving, loving and service to mankind. Dickens’ emphasizes the importance of building and sustaining good human relations not just during the yuletide but all year through. In the words of Bing Crosby,

“The secret of Christmas is not the things you do, at Christmas time. But the Christmas things you do all year through”

DOWN: The original/unabridged version may not be an easy read for children but the abridged version does not capture the true essence of the book.


5 stars: A must read for bookworms and their parents!!


  1. Who was Marley? Scrooge’s deceased colleague
  2. What did Marley’s Ghost warn Scrooge about? Marley’s Ghost warned Scrooge about this being his last chance to not die like Marley did.
  3. How many ghosts visited Mr. Scrooge? 4: Marley’s Ghost, The Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
  4. Why was Scrooge really scared of The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come? The Ghost was covered from head to toe in a deep black cloak except for one hand. Scrooge could not even see his face. The Ghost’s silence through out their time together made him even scarier. It also showed Scrooge many visions of the misery in his future.
  5. Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him. ( a cold-hearted miser who did not care for human beings ) Who does this paragraph describe? Scrooge
  6. Who were the children under the robes of the Ghost of Christmas Present? They symbolized man’s state of Want/poverty and man’s Ignorance of the plight of people living in a state of want/poverty.  

Listen/Read the book here:

Read the book here: http://www.ibiblio.org/ebooks/Dickens/Carol/Dickens_Carol.pdf

CHALLENGE: A Christmas Carol


  1. What does Christmas mean to me? Write a 400-word essay

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 8-12 age range. The first 2 correct entres will be announced on this page and will each win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Monday, December 28th 2015.

Next Book of the Week


Christmas Week Schedule

Dear Bookworms, we will interrupt our weekly schedule for the HOLIDAY!!!!

Christmas Week Book Review Schedule

8 – 12 Years

A review of Charles Dicken’s classic, ‘A Christmas Carol’ will be posted on Christmas Day and two copies of the book will be up for grabs for two lucky bookworms!



4 – 8 Years / 0 – 4 Years

A review of Dr. Seuss’ classic, ‘How the Grinch stole Christmas’ will be posted on Christmas Day and one copy of the audio book containing 11 classics by Dr. Seuss will be up for grabs for one lucky bookworm!


how the grinch stole













So get ready for Christmas Day!

Santa Claus is coming to Town (with BOOKS!!)


Our normal schedule will resume the following week with a review of IT’S DISGUSTING AND WE ATE IT by James Solheim on Tuesday the 29th of December and CLEVER SQUIRREL AND THE WEDDING COMPETITION by Yusuf .M. Adamu on Friday the 1st of January, 2016.