Animal Farm

Animal Farm - George Orwell Can you not understand that liberty is worth more than just ribbons?

Man, that Orwell sure knows how to write.

This is a fantastic book, and one that I think is well worth reading to and with kids to spark discussion, which is, I understand, a way in which it is often used. The metaphors in this book are simple but elegant, in a way that is all too often lost from dystopian/utopian fiction aimed at children and teenagers (I'm looking at you Lord of the Flies and The Giver). There's no language in here that would bother a bright child but at the same time it doesn't ever feel patronising or “dumbed-down” (a phrase I've come to loathe). It just is what it is – a story that has resonant themes to which we can all relate, in some ways now more than ever.

Again, this is a story where everyone knows the plot, so I won't really touch on that. This story is clever, and witty, and apt, and surely needs no recommendation from the likes of me to encourage people to read it. It is stimulating, even as an adult, and is the perfect gateway drug into the likes of 1984, Catch 22, Fahrenheit 451, and many other highly esteemed novels of a more adult bent.

PS. I came across this in, of all things, an abridged version (which, I might add, is very nearly as long as the thing itself but with all the nice turns of phrase removed). So don't read that. The original is not terribly difficult, after all!