I'm not one for abridged classics. Why not just read the original?
However, there is an exception to every rule. I recently realized that my little ones could benefit from learning about Pollyanna's “glad game” – her need to learn how to look for the positive side of things. They just weren't old enough to sit throught the original. Fortunately, Sterling Books' “Classic Starts” has a very good abridged version.
Half as long as the orignial, it is the perfect size for my girls' ages: three to seven.
Pollyanna is a poor but lively orphan girl who goes to live with her rich, straight-laced aunt. Hilarity ensues as this somber lady is gradually won over by her cheereul niece. There is one shocking and sad moment that could cause young listeners some distress. Pollyana gets hurt quite badly. I peaked ahead and made sure that the chapter with the accident was the first one I would read that night. Then I kept on reading the next couple chapters so we could finish on a happier note. That helped my audience through this tense section.
Jon Dykstra blogs on books at ReallyGoodReads.com.