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Scenes From An Extraordinary Life

by Mick Manning, Brita Granström, illustrated by Mick Manning, Brita Granström

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-84780-187-6
Publisher: Frances Lincoln

In celebration of the coming centennial of Dickens’ birth arrives this graphic perusal of his life and work.

Manning and Granström combine their talents again, as they did so capably in What Mr Darwin Saw (2009), to coax another tangible life out of the 19th century. Using a combination of multiple panels, boxes and wonderfully evocative background spreads, they roam through many of the experiences that shaped Dickens: pulled from school, his father thrown into debtors’ prison, the pot-blacking work and then, yes!, success. The authors have used material from Dickens’ letters, quotes and miscellaneous writings to shape the relatively ample narrative boxes, and the words flow like quicksilver: “I have often transcribed important public speeches on the palm of my hand, by the light of a dark lantern, in a post-chaise and four, galloping through wild country, through the dead of night!” This fits hand in glove with their colors, which are as deep as old dyes, and the general bustle of the urban scenes. Smaller, comic-book–like streams of panels give sensible, welcoming introductions to such works as Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby, Bleak House, A Christmas Carol and David Copperfield.

A joyfully informal conveyance of the atmosphere and facts that swarmed around Dickens’ life. (Picture book/biography. 8-12)