April 23 is World Book Day or World Book and Copyright Day. We asked readers to send in reviews of their favourite classics. Some of them sent in reviews of great books that are not technically classified as "classics". Since they are good reads, we have decided to feature those reviews too.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
A ten-year old orphan, adopted by her uncle, leads a miserable life in her aunt’s house, after her uncle dies. Of course, it’s Jane Eyre. The book is a storehouse of values, and took the world by storm when it was first published.
Though written in 1847, it is a good read even today. Jane Eyre, the protagonist, fights her way out of difficult circumstances with a great deal of courage. First, it is the ill-treatment meted out to her by her aunt, then it is the death of her best friend Helen Burns, and finally it is the revelation that her lover Mr. Edward Rochester is already married.
She completes her studies and then works as a teacher. Yearning for change, she applies for a job as a governess for a little French girl, Adele. It is here that she falls in love with Mr. Rochester. They plan their wedding meticulously, but at the deciding moment, it is revealed that Mr. Rochester is already married and his wife is still alive. From this point the story takes many twists and turns. It is for you to read and find out: Does Jane Eyre marry Mr. Rochester?
This novel tells readers about the need for boldness, courage and adjustment contributing to a prosperous life. It is both an entertaining as well as a realistic novel. It is a must read for everyone, young and the old.
Simran, X, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Tirumalgiri, Secunderabad , Andhra Pradesh
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
A funny and unique children’s story of Alice's confrontation with an eccentric world. The events that take place in a bizarre “Wonderland” are spontaneous and fantastically unplanned. The characters are remarkably amusing and entertaining. The language is figurative that takes the reader to the realm of true imagination. Enchanting!
Anand Mishra, X, Jindal Vidya Mandir, JSW Township, Bellary, Karnataka
The Room on the Roof by Ruskin Bond
This is the story of Rusty, a 16-year-old Anglo-Indian boy who is orphaned and has to live with Mr. Harrison, his guardian. He lives in the European part of Dehradun. But he wants to embrace the Indian culture and lifestyle.
He is enchanted by the festivals, people and the bazaar. He meets many people and develops a liking for Meena, his friend Kishen’s mother.
This story keeps you hooked with the many unexpected incidents. The story is a bit similar to that of the author himself. One incident in Rusty’s life is when he goes to the unkind Mr. Harrison after playing Holi with his Indian friends and shows him what he really wants — his friends and the culture.
It’s a book worth reading! It will be enjoyed by readers greatly. This book is also the winner of the “John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize”.
Nivedya S.,VI A, Devagiri CMI Public School, Kozhikode, Kerala
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
It is the story of a boy named Mowgli and his friends Bageera, the panther and Balu, the bear.
Mowgli grew up in the jungle with a wolf family. They called him the “Man-cub”. Once a tiger named Sher Khan came to the jungle. He wanted to eat Mowgli . So Bhageera thought that he will take Mowgli to the man-village to keep him safe. At night, they climbed a tree and fell asleep. A snake called Kaa came to eat Mowgli but Bageera saved him. That morning they heard trumpeting of elephants. Mowgli didn’t want go to the man-village because he thought that his house was in the jungle. So he walked away. Then he met a bear named Balu and they became friends. When they were swimming in the river some monkeys took Mowgli away to their king. Balu dressed like a big monkey. He fooled all the monkeys and saved Mowgli. That night Sher Khan saw Mowgli and was about to eat him. Smart Mowgli tied a branch full of fire to Sher Khan’s tail and he ran away. Bageera and Balu took Mowgli to the man-village. Mowgli saw a little girl taking water from the river into a pot and became friends with her. Mowgli and the girl went to the man-village. Bageera and Balu returned happily to the jungle.
My favourite character in this story is Mowgli because he is very cute and very naughty.
Muhammed Saleel, Grade -1, Al-fajr International School, Chennai
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
Main Characters: Harris, George and Montmorency
Description of a main character: Harris is the funniest of all three men and he is the only one who is not pleased with any work except his own. He misses the boat in the dark. He tries to cook for his friends using a sack full of vegetables and falls into the Thames. He tries to speak in monotone forever.
Setting/Theme of the story: Three men decide to travel in a boat in search of rest and a change of scene.
Part I enjoyed the most: When Harris is compared to Uncle Podger as he is ready to take the burden of everything upon himself and put it on the backs of other people. He says: “Now, you get a bit of paper and write down, and you get the grocery catalogue, George, and somebody give me a bit of pencil, and then I will make out a list.”
Sandhya Varadharajan, VIII, PSBB, Chennai
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
This imaginative book is set on two islands, Lilliput and Brobdingnag. The main character is Gulliver; the other characters are the Lilliputians and the giants of Brobdingnag. Gulliver sets sail to the South Seas for adventure. He gets lost at sea because a storm wrecked his ship. First he finds himself in a land of little people and then in a land of giants. I like the story and characters because they are creative and original. I love adventure stories and this is a very interesting one.
Ishaan Trivedi, V, Primus Public School, Bangalore
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
I enjoyed reading Robinson Crusoe. This story tells the hardships of a man who finds himself in an unknown land and how he struggles to live there, his courage and determination. It is an inspiring story of one man’s struggle to make a living.
Arya Murali, X, MMARS, Chengannur. Kerala
The Coral Island by R.M. Ballantyne
Shipwrecked, three teenagers, Ralph Rover, Jack Martin and Peterkin Gay, find themselves on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean. Ralph is the narrator and he recounts some extraordinary adventures as the teenagers become accustomed to life on this remote Coral Island. What begins as a paradise idyll soon becomes harsh reality as the boys encounter both pirates and Polynesian tribes.
A story of survival and dependence. A story that is full of adventure.
Gopika. G, XI, Carmel School, Thiruvananthapuram
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy March are four sisters living with their mother in New England. Their father is away serving as a chaplain in the Civil War, and they struggle to support themselves and keep their household running despite the fact that the family recently lost its fortune. They become close friends with their wealthy neighbour, Theodore Laurence, known as Laurie.
In the end all the loose ends are tied up and the story ends on a positive note.
Anjali. P. Nair, XII, Bhavans Vidya Mandir, Eroor, Tripunithura, Kerala
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
This book, which provoked the sophisticated Victorian society, was released in 1890. In our present day world, it is widely acknowledged as Wilde's masterpiece, his unparalleled Magnum Opus. It centres around three characters, the noble Lord Henry Wotton, the artistic Basil Hallward and the handsome Dorian Gray. It is about how society is obsessed about the way they look to the rest of society. It focuses on how Dorian is obsessed with his beauty, who is indeed the Narcissus of our age. The story begins with Basil introducing Dorian to Henry. From there onwards, it soars into magnificent heights of indescribable literature. Basil paints Dorian’s portrait on his wish so that he may remain youthful and his picture may grow old. What this brilliant book reflects is the mind of society and indeed, it deserves to be called a great work of art.
Rohan Gopakumar, VII D, St. Thomas Residential School, Mukkolackkal, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Life is complicated and mysterious. No, wrong. It is simple and wonderful. This is what The Alchemist taught me. By Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, this book has been on the best selling lists since it was written over 20 years ago. It has been translated into many languages too. Through a story of a young shepherd on a quest for treasure, it tells us the importance of following our dreams and writing our own destiny. It is an inspirational book and is written in rather simple and easy to follow language. Even after two reads, I couldn't get the most of it. Every time I read it I learn something new. A life changing book, definitely worth a read, if not two!
Shashank Rao Palety, XII, Delhi Public School, Vijayawada
Geronimo Stilton by Elisabetta Dami
My friend told me about this book, and I wanted to read it. I was waiting for this book to come.
I felt sad for Geronimo Stilton because nobody came to help him. I was surprised when Trap brought all Valentine's things to his friends. Trap made me laugh at the silliest things. I liked the jokes and the way the story is written. This book was easy to read. Geronimo Stilton reminds me of a friend of mine. My favourite part is when Benjamin hugs Geronimo. I wish I could meet Geronimo Stilton.
I loved this book and asked my father to buy more books of Geronimo Stilton!
Zarah Mathew, III, Trivandrum International School, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
Thomas the Tank Engine by Rev W. Awdry
The book is about an engine named Thomas. It is a cheeky little engine. He pulls coaches for big engines. But what Thomas really wants is his own branch line. Thomas always plays tricks on other engines. He helps his friend James and finally he gets his own branch line.
The line I like the most in this book is “Wake up Lazy bones! Do some hard work for a change”. I say this whenever I get an opportunity.
I gifted this book to many of my friends and cousin and they also like it very much.
Gozan Zerlinda, LKG C, Alpha Matriculation School, Chennai
1000 Great Lives by Plantagenet Somerset Fry
The book is exhaustive. It contains the illustrations of 1000 great lives which include not only British but also Indian rulers. I was interested in this book because it gives a life history of great people who made history and their achievements were recorded for posterity. The entries were arranged in the order of date of death because in the lives of famous persons great importance is given to the date of death. This arrangement makes it possible to find nearly all the great lives of one period in history together and place them more accurately in relation to other prominent figures of that age.
This book is a treasure for all history lovers.
M. Sreekar, VII, Narayana E Techno School, Varadaraju Nagar, Tirupati
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Written over a span of about two years, The Diary of a Young Girl is full of thoughts and expressions of a young, ordinary Jewish girl living in extraordinary conditions. She starts her diary when she is 13 and called it Kitty — her ever patient and understanding friend who stood by her through good and bad times. Anne wrote about her daily activities and also about the changes taking place around her during World War II. The diary provides a vivid historical and social background to her life and thoughts. The diary reveals Anne’s innermost thoughts, feelings, frustrations and ideas. The diary records all that happened in the 25 months that Anne and her family were in hiding. Her recordings of her emotions and moods are touching. In August 1944 their hiding place was discovered by the Gestapo, the German Secret Police. All the eight members in hiding were sent to concentration camps in Germany where all, except Otto Frank, died in the hands of Nazis. When Otto Frank came back to the hiding place after war, he found Anne Frank’s diary and letters. He circulated the diary in memory of his family. The book is a major piece of world literature and brings home the excesses of the Nazi regime. The book is easy to read and can be completed in a couple of sessions.
M. Vasudha, X A, Kendriya Vidyalaya No1. Tirupati