‘A thoughtfully abridged classic, sweetly illustrated. A Red Ribbon Winner and highly recommended.’ —The Wishing Shelf Book Awards
About the Book
Jerusha Abbott is a lonely orphan raised in the John Grier Home. She dreams of being an author, but the prospects for her future aren’t bright—that is, until a mysterious benefactor takes interest in her.
One of the trustees of her orphanage—who wishes to remain anonymous—has offered to pay for Jerusha’s entire college tuition. The only catch is that Jerusha is required to write him a letter every month to update him on her progress.
Month after month, Jerusha pens her letters to “Daddy-Long-Legs,” growing closer to the mysterious man all the while. As she embraces her independence and discovers who she is, one thing remains constant for Jerusha: her unconditional, heartwarming love for her benefactor, “Daddy-Long-Legs.”
This book contains 16 black and white illustrations by illustrator Farzana Cooper.
TITLE: Daddy Long Legs
AUTHOR: Jean Webster
Abridged by Fiza Pathan and Michaelangelo Zane and Illustrated by Farzana Cooper
Star Rating: 4
‘A well-written and very accessible abridgment of the classic Daddy Long Legs. Perfect for introducing this text to 7 to 12 year olds.’ The Wishing Shelf
I’m not going to comment too much on the story only to say it was originally written by Jean Webster and is very much a coming-of-age tale of a girl’s life at college and the letters she sends to her benefactor, a person she has never met. It is very much a joyful story, as Judy tells the ‘tall, thin man’ – which is why she calls him Daddy Long Legs – all about her fun, exciting life.
Although I am a big fan of the book, I do think the message is a little dated. I think the author honestly thinks that an orphan can be put in a new ‘rich’ environment and all his/her problems will simply fly away. Sadly, it’s not like that; the mental scars suffered by children can stay with them for a long time, if not for-ever. But, let’s not dwell on that. There’s so much ‘goodness’ in this story, I think children today will get a lot from it. And I’m delighted that authors like Fiza Pathan and Michaelangelo Zane are producing abridgments of these classics.
All in all, this is a very good attempt. The authors work hard to keep the original message and much of the plot, whilst simplifying a text originally published in 1912. If you didn’t know, the whole text is in the form of letters. Yes, letters! I wonder if, today, children even know what a ‘proper’ letter is. But it will do them good to show them!
I could see the abridgment working very well as a class reader in a primary school. The pacing is excellent and this abridgment has left in all the good stuff, so there’s much for children to discuss. Also, there are a number of black and white drawings which do add to the text and, I think, will help children to stay focused on the story.
I would happily recommend this book to any school library or parent looking to introduce a child to the classic text without overwhelming them with the flowery text of the original.
A ‘Wishing Shelf’ Book Review