Sunday, 22 July 2007

Classic Starts: Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm retold from the Kate Douglas Wiggin original by Deanna McFadden. Illustrated by Jamel Akib

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPublished by Sterling Publishing Co.,Inc.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is a classic from 1903. As part of the Classic Starts series, Deanna McFadden retells this tale in a way that will help adults and children alike, fall in love the book all over again.

As the title suggests, the novel is based around a young girl named Rebecca. Rebecca is one of seven children and has an amazing zest for life. She is feisty, talkative and often finds her way into trouble. When her Aunt Miranda asks if Hannah - Rebecca's sister - can come to stay, Rebecca's mother chooses to send Rebecca instead, in the hope that a different environment, schooling, and being with her Aunts will be good for her.

So begins a great adventure for Rebecca as she adjusts to a new life, a new school and new friends. An adjustment that isn't easy. Aunt Miranda never seems to be happy about anything that Rebecca does. Thankfully Aunt Jane also lives with them and has a personality which is the opposite so things balance out nicely.

Rebecca, for all her spirit, is really a gentle soul and tries her very best to please those around her but after her Aunt Miranda tells Rebecca that she won't stand for her acting in her father's silly ways, Rebecca decides enough is enough and plans to run away. Thankfully a neighbour, Mr. Cobb, who was also the coachman who brought her from Sunnybrook farm, is a friend to her and helps her.

We get to see the transformation as Rebecca grows into a young lady with fiery spirit intact, and also watch as the bond between Rebecca and her Aunts grows.

It's a truly heartwarming story that I am so glad I read. I have never read the original classic but this retold version has definitely inspired me to do so. As I read it, I could easily imagine myself reading this to - or with - a child and helping them to discover a love for the classics too.

Deanna McFadden does a wonderful job of making this classic more accessible to children of a younger age while still keeping much of the charm that helps adults stay in love with the story too.

The illustrations by Jamel Akib are wonderful and help inspire the imagination. What I liked too is that this book contains questions at the end, to make your child think, or for you to discuss the book with them. I thought that was a great touch!

Sterling Publishing Company have published many of the classics in this format and it makes a great collection for any young mind. I especially love the book design. Each spine has the title along with a small image which I imagine to be very aesthetically pleasing on a bookcase.

Click here to see more Classic Starts titles.


Lucy said...

Found you blog from another book blog. Love the variety you post. I've just started one of my own...hope you can visit me.

Laura said...

Hi, I started following your blog after seeing you on LibraryThing. This is just a comment to let you know I tagged you for the Blogging Tips Meme!

Check it out here:

Charlene Martel said...

Lucy. I went over to your site and love the look of it so far. I look forward to following your progress!

Laura, hi there and thank you for tagging me. You probably noticed I don't have posts except for book reviews so I am not sure how I will fit in to this tag game, but I will certainly give it some thought and I love the suggestions offered by people so far. What a great idea! Thanks again. Oh yes, isn't LibraryThing just great?!