Just in time for the 200th birthday of Dickens, there are three new illustrated books based on his life and the books he wrote.
●“Charles Dickens: England’s Most Captivating Storyteller” by Catherine Wells-Cole (Templar Books $19.99), uses pictures from his original books and photos and other pieces of art. Readers “see” Dickens’s life story and important parts of the stories in his books. By opening pretend letters and tickets to Dickens shows, diary entries and newspaper stories, readers gets to puzzle through a whole new level of understanding that will help later when reading Dickens’s longer books.
●“Charles Dickens: Scenes From an Extraordinary Life,” by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom (Francis Lincoln Children’s Books, $18.95), is like carrying around comic books illustrating Dickens’s life story and many of his most famous stories. It’s fast and fun and historically accurate.
●“A Boy Called Dickens,” by Deborah Hopkinson and John Hendrix (Schwartz Wade Books, $17.99), creates a story for the youngest readers about young Dickens when he worked at the shoe polish factory. It’s not historically accurate but gives a sense of how lonely and scared and brave young Charles must have been nearly 200 years ago.