This evening I had my own plan to get my 8 year old daughter interested in reading. My parents got the (very) abridged version of a handful of classics--including Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist. The abridged version was about 10 pages. I read it to her and this evening, before she went to bed, I started reading her the actual novel.
I forgot about Dickens' style and the fact that since he was paid by the word...he tended to be a bit verbose:
Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently common to most towns, great or small: to wit, a workhouse; and in this workhouse was born; on a day and date which I need not trouble myself to repeat, inasmuch as it can be of no possible consequence to the reader, in this stage of the business at all events; the item of mortality whose name is prefixed to the head of this chapter.After 5 minutes, my daughter asked, "Abba--did you start the story yet?"
For a long time after it was ushered into this world of sorrow and trouble, by the parish surgeon, it remained a matter of considerable doubt whether the child could survive to bear any name at all; in which case it is somewhat more than probable that these memoirs would never have appeared; or, if they had, that being comprised within a couple of pages, they would have possessed the inestimable merit of being the most concise and faithful specimen of biography, extant in the literature of any age or country.
"I think I'd better think it out again."