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Les Miserables (A Stepping Stone Book) Paperback – March 14, 1995

4.4 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The classic novel--and hit Broadway show--about escaped convict Jean Valjean has been adapted with easy-to-read text, large type, and short chapters. This engaging adaptation of the timeless tale is ideal for reluctant readers and kids not yet ready to tackle the original.

About the Author

Victor Hugo was born in France in 1802. He published his first book of poetry when he was only twenty and later wrote several successful plays and novels, including The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables. During the 1840s, Hugo became involved in French politics. When Emperor Napoleon 111 overthrew the government in 1851, Hugo fled France. Although he did not return for almost twenty years, his passion for writing never wavered. Victor Hugo, one of the best Romantic writers of his time, died in France in 1885.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 1010 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (March 14, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067986668X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679866688
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.3 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We have the soundtrack for Les Miserables, and my children (1st & 2nd grade) were extremely interested in the storyline. My son was fascinated by the idea of social injustice, of a Bishop actually lying/sinning to save Jean Valjean and turn him into an honest man, of poor little Cosette's misery, of Eponine's unselfish love for Marius, of the student rebellion on behalf of the misery of the masses, of what could have possibly motivated Javert to kill himself, etc... He asked so many thoughtful questions, trying to understand this story. He actually pulled down my 1000+ pages, unabridged version of Les Miserables and tried to read the first few pages!

I promised him I would try to find a version of the story just right for a 2nd grader, although I said it was very unlikely. Then I searched Amazon and found this little gem of a book. He absolutely loved it and read it several times the first day it arrived. As you can imagine, much IS lost by transforming a 1000+ page, tiny font book into a 100 page, largish font book. However, there is no way a 2nd grader can possibly appreciate the original, and he thoroughly enjoyed this version, so he and I are completely satisfied by this Stepping Stone book.

Jessie Wise Bauer (Well-Trained Mind) maintains that introducing children to adapted classics is a good idea, because then they grow to love the stories and are not intimidated by the original works when they are older. If this idea appeals to you, then I also highly recommend the series of Odyssey books by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House author).
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A Kid's Review on January 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
Les Miserables is about a man named Jean Valjean who lived in France in the late 1700's. He was so poor that he had to steal a loaf of bread for his sister's child because the child was about to die from hunger. The police caught him and put him in jail for 19 years. Jean Valjean was very angry and hated the world when he left the jail. He stole silver from a kind bishop, but the bishop did not turn him into the police and even gave him more silver. After this, Jean Valjean changed his life and showed love and kindness to everyone around him. He even risked his life several times to save people.

I like this book because it teaches you to be kind and to have mercy on people. It also shows you how people lived during the time of the French Revolution. This is one of my favorite books ever. It is sad but cool, and you should read it. (I read the whole book in 2 hours straight!)
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Format: Paperback
My 3rd grader read this book for a homeschool assignment. We try to introduce the classics whenever we can. I was so impressed by this book, I've told all my homeschool girlfriends about it. The raw emotion and suspense is captured in this book, but the negative elements (prostitution, for example) are left out, making this very suitable for an elementary student. My reluctant-to-read child couldn't put it down! I love Monica Kulling's work- we own several of her retold classics. HOMESCHOOLERS: READ MY OTHER REVIEWS!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My eight year old daughter wanted to read Les Miserables after listening to the musical for several years. She would read along with the songs in the CD insert and had a pretty good grasp of the story line before beginning to read the book.

The book itself is about 150 pages in something like 15 chapters. We would read one or two chapters a day together and often she would read ahead of me the next day.The story in the book was developed enough that it retained my interest in the story and on several occasions my wife came in to listen as well.

The book does a good job of avoiding the more adult aspects of the original novel, no mention of prostitution and Javert's suicide is only 1 line in the book. The deaths of Fantine, Eponine and Jean ValJean are handled delicately and did not seem to overly upset my daughter.

As far as relating to the musical, I would say the story line in the book is more closely followed by the 25th anniversary version of the musical then the original version.

Overall I would say it is a good adaptation of the original for the elementary school readers.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had my 8 year old read this before she saw the musical. She loved it, has it on her Kindle and we are very glad we had this book for preparation or else she wouldn't have known what was going on. This is super kid-friendly while still following the major plotlines.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book for a young reader. My 3rd grader is obsessed with wanting to read Les Miserables, so I bought this for her. It wasn't too challenging, but gave her the gist of the story and some Culteral Literacy, too.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this book last year when my 3rd grade music class was singing "Castle On a Cloud." I was trying to explain the Les Mis story, and not succeeding. This booked helped a lot. It gives enough of the story so the children understand the concept of mercy from the Bishop and then Valjean, the meanness of the evil Thenardiers, and the obsession of Javert to hunt down Valjean and not forgive anything. It also helps students understand the time frame, although I filled in a lot of historical gaps by explaining that in the 1800s people didn't have running water and electricity, and describing what the sewers were for in Paris.

Very well written and appropriate for 3rd grade and up. I would read a chapter each class and the students would beg me to read another one.
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