Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, “and what is the use of a book,” thought Alice “without pictures or conversation?”


Wardens of The Weir - Nicholas Stuart Gray

Wardens of The Weir by Nicholas Stuart Gray

My father came into the room briskly and asked if I had murdered the Tonkins children. I said no, but I’d often thought of it. The perfect chance had not yet presented itself.


The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”


The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

There was a boy named Milo who didn’t know what to do with himself – not just sometimes, but always.

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

“Where’s Papa going with that axe?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

 It was a dark and stormy night.




Animal Farm by George Orwell

Mr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the pop-holes.


The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett

 When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen.



The Dragon's Quest by Rosemary Manning

The Dragon’s Quest by Rosemary Manning

 This chapter is a very short one. It should really have been called ‘Preface’ or ‘Introduction’, but I knew that you would never read it if I called it by such a boring name, so I have called it Chapter One.


The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.


About The Author

Olga Hughes has a BFA from the Victorian College of the Arts and a BA in History and Literary Studies from Deakin University. She has also contributed to websites such as History Behind Game of Thrones. Her research interests include medieval and early modern history, folklore and fairy tales. She is currently writing her Honours thesis on Shakespeare's Richard III.

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2 Responses

  1. Jamie Adair

    What an adorable article! I especially liked how you ended with The Hobbit. When I was a child, I loved the name Eustace because of the opening of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It is a very effective and catchy beginning. “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

    • Olga Hughes

      Yes I’ve got that one in the list. But I really love the Magician’s nephew opening paragraphs as well –

      “This is a story about something that happened long ago when your grandfather was a child. It is a very important story because it shows how all the comings and goings between our own world and the land of Narnia first began.
      In those days Mr Sherlock Holmes was still living in Baker Street and the Bastables were looking for treasure in the Lewisham Road. In those days, if you were a boy you had to wear a stiff Eton collar every day, and schools were usually nastier than now. But meals were nicer; and as for sweets, I won’t tell you how cheap and good they were, because it would only make your mouth water in vain.”


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