Puffin Classics Original set sm

Puffin Hardback Children's Classics

Beautiful Books Review:

The 23 books in this series (plus a boxed set) were published by Penguin between 2010 to 2019, with decorative whimsical series bindings created by Penguin designers including Daniela Jaglenka Terrazini and Matt Jones. The books in this series have been selected by Penguin’s editorial team to include classic children’s stories to inspire a lifelong love of reading – they focus particularly on English and American novels.

The series features the full unabridged texts of each book as originally published, textured ‘cloth’-like covers (indeed, the series was originally called the ‘clothbound classics’ before being replaced by a new clothbound classics series with true cloth covers), and glued bindings. The hardest to find volume is Grimm’s Fairy Tales, so be prepared for a long wait to track it down, or a hit to your wallet if you are looking to complete the set!

Many of the books also include black and white illustrations from earlier editions, as well as thoughtful introductions from contemporary children’s authors. The cover designs are pretty (they include repeating motifs drawn from the story), and they present a lovely pastel rainbow set of spines on the shelf. The books are relatively sturdy, although the corners of the bindings are easily worn through careless handling or shelf wear.

puffin classics set standing

Titles in the series

Tarka the Otter – Henry Williamson, illus Annabel Large
Puffin Classics, 2 May 2019

“Tarka the otter lives in the Devonshire countryside.”

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Just So Stories – Rudyard Kipling, intro by Jonathan Stroud
Puffin Classics, May 24 2018

“Fantastical tales of whales and cats and kangaroos and crabs.”

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The Railway Children – E. Nesbit, intro by Jacqueline Wilson
Puffin Classics, 3 May 2018

“When Father is taken away unexpectedly during the war, Roberta, Phyllis and Peter have to leave their comfortable life in London to go and live in a small cottage in the country.”

*Uncommon.

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Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens, intro by Garth Nix
Puffin Classics, 29 Jan 2018

“Young Oliver seeks his fortune on the streets of London.”

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Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
Puffin Classics, 2 Jun 2017

Following the demise of bloodthirsty buccaneer Captain Flint, young Jim Hawkins finds himself with the key to a fortune.”

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Goodnight Mr Tom – Michelle Magorian
Puffin Classics, 15 May 2017

“When the Second World War breaks out, young Willie Beech is evacuated to the countryside under the care of kind old Tom Oakley.” 

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Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
Puffin Classics, 15 May 2017

“Even though money is short, times are tough, and their father is away at war, the March sisters’ infectious sense of fun sweeps everyone up in their adventures.”

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A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens, intro by Anthony Horowitz
Puffin Classics, 4 Aug 2016

One cold Christmas Eve, three ghosts take Ebenezer Scrooge on a scary journey to show him the error of his nasty ways.”

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The Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling, intro by Christopher Paolini
Puffin Classics, 4 Jun 2016

“Saved from the jaws of the evil tiger Shere Khan, young Mowgli is adopted by a wolf pack and taught the law of the jungle by lovable old Baloo the bear and Bhageera the panther.”

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Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White
Puffin Classics, 2 Jun 2016

“A spider called Charlotte saves a pig called Wilbur for a girl called Fern.”

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Matilda – Roald Dahl, illus Quentin Black
Puffin Classics, 7 Feb 2013

“Matilda is a brilliant and sensitive child, who decides to take revenge on her odious headmistress, Miss Trunchbull.”

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Tales of the Greek Heroes – Roger Lancelyn Green
Puffin Classics, 22 Aug 2012

“A collection of children’s retellings of the mysterious and exciting legends of the gods and heroes of Ancient Greece.”

*Uncommon.

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The Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum | Intro by Cornelia Funke
Puffin Classics, 22 Aug 2012

“Dorothy must follow the yellow brick road to Emerald City and find the wonderfully mysterious Wizard of Oz in order to get home to Kansas with her dog Toto”.

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Black Beauty – Anna Sewell | Intro by Meg Rosoff
Puffin Classics, 22 Aug 2012

Black Beauty is a handsome, sweet-tempered colt whose strong spirit is tested when he goes from a life of comfort and kindness to one of hard labour and cruelty.”

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A Little Princess – Frances Hodgson Burnett, intro by Adeline Yen Mah
Puffin Classics, 22 Aug 2012, 9780141341712

“Alone in a new country, wealthy Sara Crewe tries to make friends at boarding school and settle in.”

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Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
Puffin Classics, 29 Oct 2010

“Mole goes boating with Ratty, has a feast with Badger, and the experiences high jinx on the open road with reckless ruffian, Mr Toad of Toad Hall.”

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain | Intro by Darren Shan
Puffin Classics, 29 Oct 2010

“When Huck’s dad kidnaps him, he must escape down the Mississippi river with runaway slave, Jim.” 

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The Call of the Wild – Jack London
Puffin Classics, 22 Aug 2012

“Buck is dragged away from his life in Santa Clara Valley to be a sledge dog in the harsh and freezing cold Yukon.” 

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The Adventures of Robin Hood – Roger Lancelyn Green, illus Arthur Hall, intro by John Boyne
Puffin Classics, 29 Oct 2010

“Robin Hood, champion of the poor and oppressed, takes refuge in Sherwood Forest, and stands against the cruel power of Prince John and the brutal Sheriff of Nottingham with his band of merry men.”

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Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery
Puffin Classics, 29 Oct 2010

The Cuthberts are shocked when instead of the orphan boy they are expecting to help with the work at Green Gables, a skinny red-haired girl turns up instead.” 

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The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
Puffin Classics, 29 Oct 2010

“Orphaned Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors, where she finds a key to a secret garden.”

→ Read a review of the loveliest editions of The Secret Garden here

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Peter Pan – J. M. Barrie
Puffin Classics, 29 Oct 2010

“Peter Pan and Tinkerbell lead Wendy Darling and her brothers to Neverland – the island where the lost boys play and avoid Captain Hook”.

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Grimm’s Fairy Tales – Wilhelm & Jakob Grimm, illus George Cruikshank
Puffin Classics, 29 Oct 2010

“A selection of enchanting folk and fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm.”

*Rare. OOP.

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puffin classics collection box set

Boxed Set 
Puffin Classics, 16 October 2014

The set includes A Little Princess, Anne of Green Gables, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Secret Garden, The Wind in the Willows, and Peter Pan.

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