The 24 books in this series (plus a few different boxed set collections) were published by Penguin between 2010 to 2021, with decorative whimsical series bindings created by Penguin designers including Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini 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. It is also called the Penguin Classics Deluxe Collection when published as a boxed set.
The hardest to find volume has long been 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! However, the most recent edition of Alice in Wonderland is also proving quite difficult to find for many, since it was only released in a boxed set and does not seem to have been made available individually.
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.
Complete list of titles in the series
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll, illus John Tenniel
Puffin Classics, May 30 2021
“Take a trip down the rabbit hole.”
❦ *Uncommon. Not available for individual sale (only released in the 2021 boxed set)
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”