Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (Awesomely Austen Series)

The “Awesomely Austen” series makes Jane Austen accessible to elementary-age readers.

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice by Katherine Woodfine, illustrated by Eglantine Ceulemans. Hodder Children’s Books (Hachette UK), 2019, 245 pages

Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 8-10

Recommended for: ages 7-11

“A long time ago, in a country house called Longbourn, there lived the Bennet family.” Pride and Prejudice retellings typically begin with a clever twist on the novel’s opening line. But this version is for readers who haven’t encountered Jane Austen, or her observation about a truth universally acknowledged. In fact, the average 4th or 5th-grader who picks up this book may have no idea what it’s about; only (after flipping through the pages) that it has amusing line illustrations of people in old-timey costumes. But if she finishes it, she should have an elementary grasp of the wit, astuteness, and perspicacity that made Jane Austen an enduring literary light. (In general, girls will be more naturally drawn to her, as girls tend to be more interested in romance and relationships. But boys shouldn’t find her too much of a slog.)

The Awesomely Austen series retells six classic novels, all by accomplished children’s authors. The illustrations are clever and engaging, and notes at the end offer further insight on Austen’s appeal and the milieu in which she wrote. Although they have more of a summary character than an original children’s novel, it’s hard to see how the entire story could be told in its entirety summarizing. Still, these aren’t the blocky, uber-abridged youth versions of your (or your grandmother’s) childhood. The bad news is, they’re published in the UK and your public library may not have them. I purchased my copy of P&P from Abebooks.com (for a little less than the Amazon price), just to see what they were like. For Austen fans, one or two favorite novels may be worth the price.

Overall Rating: 4.5

  • Worldview/moral value: 4
  • Artistic/literary value: 5

Read more about our ratings here.

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Janie Cheaney

Janie is the VERY senior staff writer for Redeemed Reader, as well as a long-time contributor to WORLD Magazine and an author of nine books for children. The rest of the time she's long-distance smooching on her four grandchildren (not an easy task). She lives with her equally senior husband of almost-fifty years in the Ozarks of Missouri.

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