Inside All Graded Readers (41)
Selected by Bill Bowler
Text adaptation by Bill Bowler
A 'Tall Tale' is a story that's hard to believe, and the five tall tales in this book all tell of ghosts. Some have dark secrets buried in the past, others bring messages for the living. Some are laughable, some are sad, and some are just evil.
Sometimes there's a logical explanation for the strangest happenings, but often things cannot be explained by logic alone. Either way, you're sure to find some frightening reading between the covers of this book.
Useful and free
Retold by Jennifer Bassett
France, 1815. Jean Valjean leaves prison after nineteen years. These are dangerous and troubled times, and life is hard. Valjean must begin a new life, but how can he escape his past, and his enemy, Inspector Javert?
This story for Bookworms is loosely based on the famous novel Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, one of France's greatest writers. The novel was written in 1862, and the story has been retold many times - in a musical, in plays for radio and theatre, and in more than fifty films for television and cinema.
Useful and free
Retold by Diane Mowat
STAGE 2 - Fantasy & Horror
When the children dug a hole in the gravel-pit, they were very surprised at what they found. 'It' was a Psammead, a sand-fairy, thousands of years old.
It was a strange little thing - fat and furry, and with eyes on long stalks. It was often very cross and unfriendly, but it could give wishes - one wish a day. 'How wonderful!' the children said.
But wishes are difficult things. They can get you into trouble . . .
Retold by Ralph Mowat
STAGE 4 - Classics
'The Marquis lay there, like stone, with a knife pushed into his heart. On his chest lay a piece of paper, with the words: Drive him fast to the grave. This is from JACQUES.'
The French Revolution brings terror and death to many people. But even in these troubled times people can still love and be kind. They can be generous and true-hearted . . . and brave.
Retold by John Escott
STAGE 4 - Human Interest
When Black Beauty is trained to carry a rider on his back, or to pull a carriage behind him, he finds it hard at first. But he is lucky - his first home is a good one, where his owners are kind people, who would never be cruel to a horse.
But in the nineteenth century many people were cruel to their horses, whipping them and beating them, and using them like machines until they dropped dead. Black Beauty soon finds this out, and as he describes his life, he has many terrible stories to tell.
STAGE 4 - Factfiles
From out of the sky, from under the earth, from far out at sea - disaster comes. We build and invent new things - and sometimes bring disaster on ourselves. Today television and the Internet mean that we can watch disasters as they happen, and see their terrible results.
From Pompeii to the Asian Tsunami, from the Great Fire of London to Chernobyl, the stories of disasters are frightening, but they have much to tell us. Disasters bring stories of fear, pain, loss, and death - but also of people whose extraordinary bravery and feeling for others will touch your heart.
Retold by Christing Lindop
STAGE 4 - World Stories
'When it came to football, Billy was different. Black hands grab the ball. Black feet kick the ball. Black hopes rise up with the ball to the sickly white sky. No one can stop him now. He forgets about the river, and the people of his blood . . .'
But who can forget their own past? Billy finds that the ties which hold him to the people of his blood are strong indeed . . .
The stories in this volume of World Stories are by Australian writers Mena Abdullah & Ray Mathew, Judith Wright, Archie Weller, Dal Stivens, David Malouf, Marion Halligan.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Retold by Rosemary Border
STAGE 4 - Fantasy & Horror
You are walking through the streets of London. It is getting dark and you want to get home quickly. You enter a narrow side-street. Everything is quiet, but as you pass the door of a large, windowless building, you hear a key turning in the lock. A man comes out and looks at you. You have never seen him before, but you realize immediately that he hates you. You are shocked to discover, also, that you hate him.
Who is this man that everybody hates? And why is he coming out of the laboratory of the very respectable Dr Jekyll?
Who will speak for the poor? Who will listen to slaves, and those who have no rights? Who will work for a future where everyone is equal? Who will give up his house, job and money to fight for people who are shut out by everyone else?
'I will,' said Mohandas Gandhi. And he began to fight in a way the world had not seen before - not with weapons, and wild crowds, and words of hate, but with the power of non-violence. This is the story of a man who became the Father of the Nation in his own country of India, and a great leader for the whole world.