Updated to include the new 2023 publications.
Penguin began publishing this series in late 2019, with decorative series bindings created by Penguin designers. 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. To date, many of the titles include reprints of novels in the earlier ‘Puffin Hardback Children’s Classics’ series in a more deluxe binding.
The series features the full unabridged texts of each book as originally published, full cloth covers with generous gilt accents and bound-in satin ribbon bookmarks. (Unfortunately they still have glued bindings, but this does help make them more affordable.)
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 delightful glittery and brightly colored rainbow of spines on the shelf, but do take care shelving them as the gilt is less robust than the cloth cover.
Because the books are produced by Penguin UK, newer titles are typically available from UK bookshops before they can be sourced from other countries.
Titles in the Series
Grimms’ Fairy Tales – Brothers Grimm, illustrated by George Cruikshank
Puffin Clothbound Classics, 14 Sep 2023.
“From the land of fantastical castles, vast lakes and deep forests, the Brothers Grimm collected a treasury of enchanting folk and fairy stories full of giants and dwarfs, witches and princesses, magical beasts and cunning children. From classics such as ‘The Frog-Prince’ and ‘Hansel and Grettel’ to the delights of ‘Ashputtel’ or ‘Old Sultan’, all hold a timeless magic which has enthralled children for centuries.”
Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales – retold by Naomi Lewis, illustrated by Jan Pienkowski
Puffin Clothbound Classics, 14 Sep 2023
“A delightful selection of stories from Hans Christian Andersen, translated by the eminent writer and critic, Naomi Lewis. All the best-known and most-loved stories are included – ‘Thumbelina’, ‘The Snow Queen’, ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ etc, as well as the less familiar – ‘The Goblin at the Grocer’s’ and ‘Dance, Dolly, Dance’.“
Stig of the Dump – Clive King
Puffin Clothbound Classics, 13 Apr 2023.
“Barney is a solitary little boy, given to wandering off by himself. One day he is lying on the edge of a disused chalk-pit when it gives way and he lands in a sort of cave. Here he meets a boy wearing a rabbit skin and speaking in grunts. He names him Stig. Nobody believes Barney when he tells his family all about Stig, but they become great friends, learning each others ways and embarking on a series of unforgettable adventures.”
The Dark Is Rising – Susan Cooper
Puffin Clothbound Classics, 23 Mar 2023
“It’s Midwinter’s Eve, the day before Will’s eleventh birthday. But there is an atmosphere of fear in the familiar countryside around him. This will be a birthday like no other. Will discovers that he has the power of the Old Ones, and that he must embark on a quest to vanquish the terrifyingly evil magic of the Dark.“
Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams
Puffin Clothbound Classics, 1 Sep 2022.
“Wilbur the pig’s life has already been saved by Fern, but when he is sold to her uncle, he realises his life is in even more danger. Enter Charlotte A. Cavatica, a beautiful large grey spider. Charlotte is determined to keep Wilbur from the chopping block, and comes up with an ingenious way to do just that.”
Tales of the Greek Heroes – Roger Lancelyn Green
Puffin Clothbound Classics, 1 Sep 2022
“Discover the mysterious and exciting legends of the gods and heroes in Ancient Greece, from the adventures of Perseus, the labours of Heracles, the voyage of Jason and the Argonauts, to Odysseus and the Trojan wars.”
The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery, translated by T. V. F. Cuffe
Puffin Clothbound Classics, 17 Feb 2022 (delayed from 2020).
“The timeless, enchanting story of the little prince who lives on a tiny planet with three volcanoes and a haughty flower, which he must protect from the baobabs, the bad seeds.”
Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
Puffin Clothbound Classics, 3 Sep 2020
“Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, where he learns the tragic tale of the intense passion between foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw.”
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
Puffin Clothbound Classics, 3 Sep 2019
“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.”