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The Woman In Black

Susan Hill (Author)

‘I did not believe in ghosts’

Few attend Mrs Alice Drablow’s funeral, and not one blood relative amongst them. There are undertakers with shovels, of course, a local official who would rather be anywhere else, and one Mr Arthur Kipps, solicitor from London. He is to spend the night in Eel Marsh House, the place where the old recluse died amidst a sinking swamp, a blinding fog and a baleful mystery about which the townsfolk refuse to speak.

Young Mr Kipps expects a boring evening alone sorting out paperwork and searching for Mrs Drablow’s will. But when the high tide pens him in, what he finds – or rather what finds him – is something else entirely.

In the 'Backstory' discover more classic ghost stories and some real-life ones too...

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Swallows and Amazons

Arthur Ransome (Author)

'Swallows and Amazons for ever!'

The Walker children - also known as Captain John, Mate Susan, Able-Seaman Titty, and Ship's Boy Roger - set sail on the Swallow and head for Wild Cat Island. There they camp under open skies, swim in clear water and go fishing for their dinner. But their days are disturbed by the Blackett sisters, the fierce Amazon pirates. The Swallows and Amazons decide to battle it out, and so begins a summer of unforgettable discoveries and incredible adventures.

BACKSTORY: Crack the Swallow's code and learn all about the adventurous author.

The Silver Sword

Ian Serraillier (Author)

'If you meet Ruth or Edek or Bronia, you must tell them I'm going to Switzerland to find their mother. Tell them to follow as soon as they can

Having lost their parents in the chaos of war, Ruth, Edek and Bronia are left alone to fend for themselves and hide from the Nazis amid the rubble and ruins of their city. They meet a ragged orphan boy, Jan, who treasures a paperknife - a silver sword - which was entrusted to him by an escaped prisoner of war. The three children realise that the escapee was their father, the silver sword a message that he is alive and searching for them. Together with Jan they begin a dangerous journey across the battlefields of Europe to find their parents.

BACKSTORY: Read a letter from the author's daughter and find out about the amazing true stories that inspired The Silver Sword.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

John Boyne (Author)

'Some things are just sitting there, minding their own business, waiting to be discovered. Like America. And other things are probably better off left alone'

Nine-year-old Bruno has a lot of things on his mind. Who is the 'Fury'? Why did he make them leave their nice home in Berlin to go to 'Out-With' ? And who are all the sad people in striped pyjamas on the other side of the fence? The grown-ups won't explain so Bruno decides there is only one thing for it - he will have to explore this place alone. What he discovers is a new friend. A boy with the very same birthday. A boy in striped pyjamas. But why can't they ever play together?

BACKSTORY: Read an interview with the author JOHN BOYNE and learn all about the Second World War in Germany.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

Joan Aiken (Author)

Can you go a little faster? Can you run?

Long ago, at a time in history that never happened, England was overrun with wolves. But as Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia discover, real danger often lies closer to home. Their new governess, Miss Slighcarp, doesn't seem at all nice. She shuts Bonnie in a cupboard, fires the faithful servants and sends the cousins far away from Willoughby Chase to a place they will never be found. Can Bonnie and Sylvia outwit the wicked Miss Slighcarp and her network of criminals, forgers and snitches?

BACKSTORY: Find out a few things you didn't know about wolves and learn all about the wonderful world of the author.

I Capture the Castle

Dodie Smith (Author)

'I write this sitting in the kitchen sink...

This is the diary of Cassandra Mortmain, which tells of her extraordinary family and their crumbling castle home. Cassandra's father was once a famous writer, but now he mainly reads detective novels while his family slide into genteel poverty. Her sister Rose is bored and beautiful, and desperate to marry riches. Their step-mother Topaz has habit of striding through the countryside wearing only her wellington boots. But all their lives will be soon be transformed by the arrival of new neighbours from America, and Cassandra finds herself falling in love...

BACKSTORY: Get to know Dodie Smith, and be inspired to keep your own diary!

King Matt The First

Janusz Korczak (Author)

‘Children! I, Matt the First, appeal for your help in carrying out my reforms’

Little Matt becomes King Matt when he is just a young boy. He can barely even read or write and he certainly doesn’t know anything about governing a country. What should he do? What would you do?

Ignoring his grown-up ministers, he builds the finest zoo in the world and decrees that children should be given chocolate every day. But ruling turns out to be a much trickier business than Matt ever realised.

Can the happiness of a nation depend on one small boy? Well, let’s find out…

Includes exclusive material: In the Backstory you can discover the life story of the brave author and put your governing skills to the test.

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm

Norman Hunter (Author)

Rediscover Professor Branestawm this Christmas – soon to become a brand new drama on BBC ONE written by Charlie Higson and starring Harry Hill

‘Once you started anything in Professor Branestawm’s house you never knew when it might finish or even if it ever would’

Poor Mrs Flittersnoop! It’s not easy being Professor Branestawm’s housekeeper. People may say he’s a genius, but all his inventions always make life more complicated, alarming and extraordinary than it was before. An innocent bottle of old cough mixture turns out to be an elixir that makes all the waste paper in the bin come to life, the burglar-catcher and the pancake-maker operate just a little too efficiently, and about the spring-cleaning machine, the less said the better. You could write a book about it, but nobody would believe it.

Includes exclusive material: In the Backstory you can find out about accidental inventions that changed our lives and try a few experiments of your own!

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Coot Club

Arthur Ransome (Author)

‘Let fly jib sheet! Slack away main! Fenders out!’

Dick and Dorothea – also known as The Ds – arrive in Norfolk all ready to learn how to sail. They couldn’t hope for a better teacher than Tom Dudgeon. But Tom is in a spot of trouble. After seeing the beastly Margoletta moored clean across the nests of his beloved coots, Tom set the motorcruiser adrift. Now the enemy have offered a bounty on his head. Can they save the birds’ nest from almost certain destruction? Will they avoid being caught by the awful Hullabaloos? Only some brave friends and quick thinking stands between them and disaster…

Includes exclusive material: In ‘The Backstory’ you can test your knowledge of the book, learn about the adventurous author and get some handy facts about birds and boats.

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Charlotte Sometimes

Penelope Farmer (Author)

'Suppose you got stuck in here, and Clare there in your time. Just suppose you did?

Charlotte Makepeace’s first day at boarding school is a bewildering blur of unfamiliar faces, timetables, rules and lists. All the other girls know the routine – and each other. No one invites her into their exclusive circles of whispers and giggles.

But on Charlotte’s very first night something mysterious starts to happen. She wakes up in the same bed, in the same dormitory, in the same school. But something has changed. Somehow Charlotte has slipped forty years back in time...

Includes exclusive material: In the Backstory you can learn what life was like during the First World War

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Nancy and Plum

Betty MacDonald (Author)

'Big snowflakes fluttered slowly through the air like white feathers and made all of Heavenly Valley smooth and white and quiet and beautiful'

So here we are on Christmas Eve, locked up in rotten Mrs Monday's boarding house with no presents and no Christmas dinner, while all the other children have gone home for the holidays. I'm Nancy, by the way, and this is my sister Plum. Luckily, we're both pretty good at making up stories about the adventures and pretty dresses that we'd like to have, and that helps us put up with Mrs Monday and her awful niece Marybelle. But one day, we're going to escape, and maybe we'll find a nice home and a family all of our own. Wouldn't that be just wonderful?

Includes exclusive material: In ‘The Backstory’ you can take the quiz and find out why Nancy and Plum is Jacqueline Wilson's favourite children's book!

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The Big Six

Arthur Ransome (Author)

‘Why shouldn’t we be detectives too?’

When Dick and Dorothea arrive in the Norfolk Broads all set for a blissful summer on the river, they find their friends the Death and Glories in a very bad situation. Accused of setting boats adrift, sabotage and theft, the boys are under suspicion by everyone on the river. And in the meantime, the real culprits are still at large. There’s no choice but to form a crime-busting team: The Big Six. As the evidence stacks against them, can they solve the mystery and trap the real criminals?

Includes exclusive material: In ‘The Backstory’ find out about birds, boats and fish and put your own detective skills to the test!

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Missee Lee

Arthur Ransome (Author)

‘So long,’ called the harbourmaster. ‘Don’t run into Missee Lee!’

The Swallows, Amazons and Captain Flint don’t pay much heed to the harbourmaster’s friendly warning as they set off for China. They are on a round-the-world voyage aboard the Wild Cat and it’s been plain sailing for a hundred ports. But when Gibber, the ship’s monkey, accidentally sinks their faithful boat things take a serious turn for the worse. Separated, captured, miles from home, the Swallows and Amazons are about to meet their fate and the pirate who holds it: the legendary Missee Lee...

In the 'Backstory' you can learn to decipher Nancy's Morse code and find out about the real life inspirations for Missee Lee

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The Bell Family

Noel Streatfeild (Author)

'Well, little people, what's the news?

Meet the big, happy Bell family who live in the vicarage at St Marks. Father is a reverend, Mother is as kind as kind can be. Then there's all the children – practical Paul, dancing Jane, mischievous Ginnie, and finally the baby of the family, Angus, whose ambition is to own a private zoo (he has already begun with his six boxes of caterpillars). And not forgetting Esau, a sure fire competitor for the most beautiful dog in Britain.

Follow their eventful lives from tense auditions to birthday treats; from troubled times to hilarious escapades.

Includes exclusive material: In the Backstory you can find out which one of the Bell children you most resemble!

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from Peter Pan and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

John Diamond

Leon Garfield (Author)

'My father, that stern and upright man, was nothing but a swindler and a thief!'

What is the matter with old Mr Jones? Endless footsteps and low groans can be heard from his room in the dead of night. Only his son William knows the a terrible secret: his father betrayed his business partner Mr Diamond, and swindled him out of a great fortune. William resolves to go to London, find Mr Diamond and make amends. But the murky big city, with its sinister characters and treacherous back streets, is no place for a boy of twelve. And Mr Diamond's own son is not the sort of person to forgive and forget. Danger and deceit lie waiting...

Includes exclusive material: In the Backstory you can find out more about the wonderful author and learn some Cockney rhyming slang!

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Fly Away Home

Christine Nostlinger (Author)

'The story I'm going to tell is true. It happened to me. It is a tale of Gunpowdertown

Life for Cristal has been upside down for a long time. She can’t even remember a time before the war began. Before potatoes for every meal and bombs raining down from the sky. Before being forced to shelter in the dark, damp cellars. Then one day, Cristal’s home is turned into a pile of rubble and dust five metres high.

But a chance offer saves her family. They move to the safety of a wealthy suburb, camping out amongst the chandeliers and family portraits of someone else’s house. That is until the dreaded Russians roll into Vienna and move in too…

Includes exclusive material: In the Backstory you can test your knowledge of the book, and learn more about the Second World War

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The Wind on the Moon

Eric Linklater (Author)

'I have often wondered what I would be when I grow up, but never, never, never did I expect to be a Kangaroo!'

When the wind on the moon blew straight into Dinah and Dorinda’s hearts it meant that they couldn’t help but behave badly for a whole year. Transformed into kangaroos,they terrorise the sleepy town of Midmeddlecum with glee. But what they didn’t count on was being locked in a zoo. Things get even stickier for the mischievous sisters when they learn their father has been imprisoned in a dungeon by Count Hulagu Bloot, the tyrant of Bombardy. Their poor father! Can they rescue him in time?

Includes exclusive material: In the Backstory you can find out what life was like when this book was written and meet some more naughty children!

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The Phoenix and the Carpet

E. Nesbit (Author)

‘Rain, rain, go away,’ said Anthea; ‘but it never DOES go’

I expect you know how boring it can be to stay indoors on rainy days. it was on one of those dull days that the five children accidentally set their nursery on fire (with fireworks). No one thought that that disastrous day would bring the start of new adventures.

But the new nursery carpet, when it arrives, comes with something odd wrapped inside it: an enormous glowing egg. And inside is the most beautiful bird you’ve ever seen – in fact, not a bird: a noble and fabulous phoenix. New adventures just might have begun…

Includes exclusive content: In the Backstory you can ponder what you would wish for and find out which character you most resemble!

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The Enchanted Castle

E. Nesbit (Author)

'If we were in a book it would be an enchanted castle - certain to be'

When Jerry, Jimmy and Kathleen are forced to spend their entire summer at school they don't imagine they will have a particularly interesting time. But that's before they stumble upon a mysterious castle set in beautiful, abandoned gardens. Could this really be an enchanted castle? Don’t be a duffer, there’s no such thing. But with the air thick with magic, the sun blazing down, and a maze hiding a sleeping girl at its centre, the holidays might just be looking up...

Includes exclusive content: In the Backstory you can find out more about the author and take the Enchanted Castle quiz!

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Little Lord Fauntleroy

Frances Hodgson Burnett (Author)

‘And so this is little Lord Fauntleroy’

Ceddie is a regular little boy living in New York with his mother, until the day a tall, old gentleman arrives to give him some startling news. Ceddie, it turns out, is the child of a great English family. He must go to England to live with the Earl his grandfather and become a person he never knew he was: Little Lord Fauntleroy.

What the old gentleman neglects to mention is that Ceddie’s grandfather is one of the most grumpy, grouchy, gouty and feared old men in all England. Wish the new Little Lord Fauntleroy good luck…

Includes exclusive material: In the Backstory you can find out more about the inspirations for the story and take the Little Lord Fauntleroy quiz!

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

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