Wednesday, 1 August 2012

A World of Stories - Vintage Children's Classics

When I attended the Random House Bloggers' Brunch a couple of months ago, we were given a presentation by members of the Vintage team. For some time Vintage have been releasing newly jacketed editions of classics by the likes of Dickens, Dumas, Fleming and Conan Doyle, and now they are looking towards the young end of the market with their new project - Vintage Children's Classics.

At that event we were shown various images of the newly designed book covers, and the team from Vintage explained how they were approaching the new project. They showed us details of the research they carried out, asking both children and the adults who buy the books for them what they felt makes the perfect book package, and used the information to add extra content and to guide the cover designs. There will also be a brand new website, also to be launched officially on 2nd August: and if you are near London then you really should head to Foyles at Southbank Centre on 11th August for the Vintage Children's Classics Family Fete.

Since that blogger event the lovely people at Vintage were kind enough to send my a handful of their new titles, some of which are old favourites of mine, others classics that, much to my shame, I have never read. As a set of books they look stunning, and I can't think of a nicer way to revisit these classics. The covers are, without exception, eye-catching and I would not be surprised if families start to buy these one-by-one, as so many children love to collect sets of things. So far I have read Emil and the Detectives and I am part way through Treasure Island. Once I have read a few more I will write another blog post about them.

The official launch of the new titles is tomorrow, 2nd August, and here is the official press release that presents the details in a much clearer way than I can:

This summer, Vintage Classics, an imprint of The Random House Group, will launch a new list of children’s classics which can be enjoyed by all the family. Vintage Children’s Classics will be a beautiful and affordable series of books intended to inspire and nurture a life-long love of reading in children and adults alike.

The launch list of twenty titles will feature perennial favourites such as Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island alongside much-loved contemporary classics exclusive to Random House including The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne.

Boyne commented: Books become classics when generation after generation can read them and experience the same emotional charge as their first readers. The children's classics that we return to as adults are the ones that feel every bit as good as they did when we first experienced the pleasures of reading, with stories that excite and move us and characters who feel the most alive.

After undertaking extensive research among 8 to 12 year olds, and the adults who buy books for them, Vintage has come up with the ultimate ingredients for a new series of children’s classics – from the cover design and back cover copy, to the extra content inside.

Each beautifully designed volume will contain exclusive extra ‘Backstory’ material, including quizzes and family activities and fascinating facts about the books and their authors. The series launch titles include:

• The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (£6.99)
• Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (£5.99)
• Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (£5.99)
• The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (£6.99)
• The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon (£7.99)
• Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kastner (£5.99)
• Five Children and It by E. Nesbit (£5.99)
• I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (£7.99)
• The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (£5.99)
• Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (£5.99)
• Peter Pan by J.M Barrie (£5.99)
• The Railway Children by E. Nesbit (£5.99)
• The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (£6.99)
• The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier (£6.99)
• Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransom (£7.99)
• Swallowdale by Arthur Ransom (£7.99)
• Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (£5.99)
• What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge (£7.99)
• The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (£5.99)
• The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken (£5.99)

The series will also be accompanied by the launch of a dedicated interactive website for Vintage Children’s Classics – – with fun quizzes, downloads and extra material where children will be able to find out more about their favourite characters and stories.

A further ten titles will be published by the end of 2012, with more titles in the following years. The books will be available in print and ebook format.

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