HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8Review: A Boy Called Dickens

Review: A Boy Called Dickens

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: February 7, 2012

A Boy Called Dickens

By Deborah Hopkinson; Illustrated by John Hendrix

Reading level: Ages 4-9

Hardcover: 40 pages

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (January 10, 2012)

Source: Publisher

What to expect: Charles Dickens, London—19th Century, Fiction

In honor of the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth—February 7—Random House Children’s Books has published A Boy Called Dickens by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by John Hendrix.

Deborah Hopkinson has created an incisive and thought provoking picture book that introduces children to one of the greatest and most treasured writers of all time. Although it is fiction, Hopkinson has based the story on real moments from Dickens’ life. The captivating illustrations created by John Hendrix add mystique to the text. Graphite and pen-and-ink provide the gloominess and dinginess of old London, while fluid acrylics add personality to the people and rosiness to their cheeks—the time period in history is captured well.

Illustration copyright © 2012 by John Hendrix

Growing up extremely poor, Dickens had four things going for him: a pencil, a slate, a love of books and a dream to write stories of his own. Even though times were very tough and the young, hungry, penniless Charles Dickens had to work in a rat-infested blacking factory, he still managed to hold onto his dream. It is this theme that makes the story not only interesting, but empowering to young readers. A Boy Called Dickens is a Junior Library Guild selection—if you’re looking for a little slice of history a la mode, you’ll find this book to be delicious.

Add this book to your collection: A Boy Called Dickens

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

  • Though 200 years past, the influence of Dickens will never end.

    February 8, 2012

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