*Updated to include the new 2024 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
Peter Pan - J. M. Barrie
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
Chinese Cinderella - Adeline Yen Mah
Puffin Clothbound Classics, 9780241688236, 20 Jun 2024. 25th Anniversary Edition.
“When her mother dies shortly after her birth, lonely Adeline is marked as ‘bad luck’ and treated as an outcast by her own family, shown kindness only by her grandfather and Aunt Baba who encourage her to follow her dreams.”
David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
Puffin Clothbound Classics, 9780241663547, 5 Mar 2024. 175th Anniversary Edition.
“As David recounts his experiences from childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist, Dickens draws openly and revealingly on his own life.”
The Neverending Story - Michael Ende
Puffin Clothbound Classics, 9780241663561, 5 Mar 2024. 45th Anniversary Edition.
“Bastian is nobody’s idea of a hero, least of all his own. Through the pages of an old book he discovers a mysterious magical world – a world of dragons, monsters, witches and giants. A world that is doomed unless a human can save it.“
Watership Down - Richard Adams, illustrated by David Parkins
Puffin Clothbound Classics, 9780241655702, 26 Oct 2023.
“Sandleford Warren is in danger. Hazel’s younger brother Fiver is convinced that a great evil is about to befall the land, but no one will listen. So together Hazel and Fiver and a few other brave rabbits secretly leave behind the safety and strictures of the warren and hop tentatively out into a vast and strange world.”
Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales - retold by Naomi Lewis, illustrated by Jan Pienkowski
Puffin Clothbound Classics, 9780241425145, 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’.“
Grimms' Fairy Tales - Brothers Grimm, illustrated by George Cruikshank
Puffin Clothbound Classics, 9780241621196, 14 Sep 2023.
“From classics such as ‘The Frog-Prince’ and ‘Hansel and Grettel’ to the delights of ‘Ashputtel’ or ‘Old Sultan’, all of these tales from the Brothers Grimm hold a timeless magic which has enthralled children for centuries.”
Stig of the Dump - Clive King, illustrated by Edward Ardizzone
Puffin Clothbound Classics, 9780241623909, 13 Apr 2023.
“Barney meets a boy wearing a rabbit skin and speaking in grunts in a cave. 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, 9780241623916, 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, 9780241425107, 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, 9780241444313, 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, 9780241425138, 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 Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum, introduction by Cornelia Funke
Puffin Clothbound Classics, 9780241411209, 3 Sep 2019
“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”.
Black Beauty - Anna Sewell, introduction by Meg Rosoff
Puffin Clothbound Classics, 9780241411148, 3 Sep 2019
“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.”
The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
Puffin Clothbound Classics, 9780241411162, 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.”