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A booklist for: Oliver!
Production dates: May 9-18, 2014

This is a booklist created by Gere Branch library staff to accompany the stage production of the musical Oliver! at Gere’s neighbor, The Lincoln Community Playhouse.

Oliver! is a full-cast staged musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel, Oliver Twist, original published in 1838. The musical, with music and lyrics by Lionel Bart, premiere in London in 1960, and on Broadway in 1962. Oliver! takes audiences on a wild adventure through Victorian England. Join young,orphaned Oliver Twist as he navigates the London’s underworld of theft and violence, searching for a home, a family, and – most importantly – for love. When Oliver is picked up on the street by a boy named the Artful Dodger, he is welcomed into a gang of child pickpockets led by the conniving, but charismatic, Fagin. When Oliver is falsely accused of a theft he didn’t commit, he is rescued by a kind and wealthy gentleman, to the dismay of Fagin’s violent sidekick, Bill Sykes. Caught in the middle is the warm-hearted Nancy, who is trapped under Bill’s thumb, but desperate to help Oliver, with tragic resultsThe musical was also turned into a film musical, release in 1968. Oliver! is one of musical theater’s most beloved shows, featuring such unforgettable songs as “Food, Glorious Food!”, “Where is Love”, “Consider Yourself”, “You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two”, “It’s a Fine Life” and “I’d Do Anything”.

For youth:

book coverWill Sparrow’s Road
by Karen Cushman [j Cushman]

In 1599 England, twelve-year-old lying, thieving Will Sparrow runs away, meets many colorful characters on the road, and then reluctantly joins a traveling “oddities” exhibit, where he learns to see beyond appearances.

book coverOliver Twist
by Charles Dickens and Don Freeman [j Dickens (Freeman Ed.)]

Completed in 1938 by the beloved artist of Corduroy, these superb illustrations were recently uncovered and are published for the first time in this lavish gift edition of one of Dickens’s most popular novels. The memorable story of the orphan Oliver, the infamous Fagin, and his apprentice, the Artful Dodger, come vividly to life in this glorious volume.

book coverA Little Princess
by Frances Hodgson Burnett [j Burnett]

A Little Princess, a 1904 children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, follows the story of Sara Crewe, a young girl sent to a boarding school in London where she is to be lavishly cared for as instructed by her doting, wealthy father, Captain Crewe. When her father dies, and she is left an orphan and a pauper, Sara becomes a servant at the school, and befriends a maid with whom she shares an attic room. Her imagination keeps her alive in her destitute life, and the rich stories she invents become as real to the reader as they do for Sara and the maid.

book coverThe Prince and the Pauper
by Mark Twain (a.k.a. Samuel Clemens) [jP Twain]

A simplified retelling of the Mark Twain classic in which young Edward VI of England and a poor boy who resembles him exchange places and each learns something about the other’s very different station in life.

book coverTrain to Somewhere
by Eve Bunting [jP Bunting]

In the late 1800s, Marianne travels westward on the Orphan Train in hopes of being placed with a caring family.

book coverCity of Orphans
by Avi [j Avi]

In 1893 New York, thirteen-year-old Maks, a newsboy, teams up with Willa, a homeless girl, to clear his older sister, Emma, from charges that she stole from the brand new Waldorf Hotel, where she works. Includes historical notes.

For adults:

book coverDavid Copperfield
by Charles Dickens [Dickens]

David Copperfield is the story of a young man’s adventures on his journey from an unhappy and impoverished childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a successful novelist. Among the gloriously vivid cast of characters he encounters are his tyrannical stepfather, Mr. Murdstone; his formidable aunt, Betsey Trotwood; the eternally humble yet treacherous Uriah Heep; frivolous, enchanting Dora; and the magnificently impecunious Micawber, one of literature’s great comic creations.

book coverThe Solitary House
by Lynn Shepherd [Shepherd]

Summoned to the offices of Victorian London’s most powerful and dangerous solicitors, disgraced police officer turned independent detective Charles Maddox turns to his famous but aging investigator uncle to identify who has been sending threatening letters to a client.

book coverA Frightened Man
by Kenneth M. Cameron [Cameron (M)]

London, 1900. When a terrified man shows up one evening and says he is being pursued by Jack the Ripper, Denton dismisses him as a lunatic. When the mutilated body of a teenaged prostitute is found, Denton decides to pursue the murderer.

book coverOliver Twist: or, the Parish Boy’s Progress
by Charles Dickens [Dickens]

Oliver Twist’s famous cry of the heart — “Please, sir, I want some more” — has resounded with generations of readers of all ages. The author poured his own youthful experience of Victorian London’s unspeakable squalor into this realistic depiction of a spirited young innocent’s unwilling but inevitable recruitment into a scabrous gang of thieves. Masterminded by the loathsome Fagin, the underworld crew features some of Dickens’s most memorable characters, including the vicious Bill Sikes, gentle Nancy, and the juvenile pickpocket known as the Artful Dodger.

book coverOliver
Ron Moody, Oliver Reed, Harry Secombe, Shani Wallis, Mark Lester, Jack Wild [DVD Oliver]

A young orphan, Oliver is left to fend for himself until he is befriended by a band of young thieves who quickly train him in their craft. But Oliver is not content to be a thief for he knows that life holds great joys and true happiness cannot be stolen, but must be earned.

book coverThe Book Thief
by Markus Zusak [Zusak or YA Zusak]

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

book coverThe Italian Boy
by Sarah Wise [364.152 Wis]

Before his murder in 1831, the “Italian boy” was one of thousands of orphans on the streets of London, moving among the livestock, hawkers, and con men, begging for pennies. When his body was sold to a London medical college, the suppliers were arrested for murder. Their high-profile trial would unveil London’s furtive trade in human corpses carried out by body-snatchers-or “resurrection men”-who killed to satisfy the first rule of the cadaver market: the fresher the body, the higher the price.

book coverThe Orphan Trains: Placing Out in America
by Marilyn Irvin Holt [362.73 Hol]

From 1850 to 1930 America witnessed a unique emigration and resettlement of at least 200,000 children and several thousand adults, primarily from the East Coast to the West. This ‘placing out’, an attempt to find homes for the urban poor, was best known by the ‘orphan trains’ that carried the children. Holt carefully analyzes the system, initially instituted by the New York Children’s Aid Society in 1853, tracking its imitators as well as the reasons for its creation and demise. She captures the children’s perspective with the judicious use of oral histories, institutional records, and newspaper accounts.

Created in partnership with the Lincoln Community Playhouse by ka/Gere Branch May 2014 | Modified for use on BookGuide by sdc/bmpl