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Once more, with feeling

Great Expectations (Oxford University Press, pound;9.99) is a new title in an excellent illustrated series of retellings perfectly pitched for reading aloud to Year 4 and above. James Riordan's sensitive version of Dickens's epic loses the lengthy descriptions but retains much original dialogue and so preserves the intrinsic atmosphere of the setting. Victor Ambrus's illustrations convey the beauty and the brutality in the story. In the same series, King Arthur and Gulliver's Travels are both retold by James Riordan, and Moby-Dick is retold by Geraldine McCaughrean.

Pippi Longstocking is the idiosyncratic creation of Astrid Lindgren, who died earlier this year. The idea of an amazingly strong girl who lives alone and has never been to school has universal appeal; the remarkably undated stories are ideal to read aloud to Years 1 and 2 (older children will enjoy reading them alone). A new edition with illustrations by Tony Ross is available in the Oxford Children's Modern Classics series (Oxford University Press pound;6.99).

Joan Aiken's funny, warm tales about the mischievous raven, Mortimer, adopted by Arabel after her father saves him one stormy night, also read aloud well. Two Mortimer collections, Arabel's Raven and Mortimer's Bread Bin, have been reissued by Barn Owl Books (pound;3.99 each) and are illustrated by Quentin Blake.

Bel Mooney's Kitty stories about a little girl who makes her presence felt are popular early reading texts for Years 1 to 3. Kitty bows out in So What!, the 12th and final volume, with illustrations by Margaret Chamberlain (Egmont pound;3.99). These tales show that Kitty is growing up and likes to give the impression that she doesn't care, but she often does care, very much.

Fiona Lafferty is librarian at St Swithun's junior school, Winchester

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