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Publisher's Summary

Timothy West, Julia McKenzie and Oliver Peace star in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of Charles Kingsley's classic tale of a chimney sweep who becomes a water baby.

Forced up the chimneys of Hartover Hall by his cruel master, Grimes, young Tom gets lost and comes down the wrong one, frightening little Miss Ellie. In the chase that follows, he is rescued by the fairies and taken to be a water baby under the waves. There, he makes friends with sea creatures such as the Lobster and meets the beautiful, kind fairy Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby and her ugly, unpleasant sister Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid. When he is introduced to the other Water Babies, he is reunited with Ellie, who has also been transformed. With her support, he sets off on a quest to the Other-End-Of-Nowhere. But first he must find Mother Carey's peace pool – and help out the last person he wants to save: his former master....

Oliver Peace stars as Tom, with Timothy West as Charles Kingsley and Julia McKenzie as Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby and Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid. Dramatised by Berlie Doherty. The wonder and excitement of much-loved children's classics lives on in BBC Radio's acclaimed full-cast dramatisations, complete with evocative music and sound effects.

©2017 BBC Worldwide Ltd. (P)2017 BBC Worldwide Ltd.

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  • Samuel W.
  • 08-09-2017

Great Dramatization of Classic Story

Would you consider the audio edition of The Water Babies (BBC Children's Classics) to be better than the print version?

I tried reading the print version of the book, but found it hard going at times. Berlie Doherty did a great job making the story much more easy to understand, and many long winded parts in the original book are cut out.

What did you like best about this story?

The plot moved along at a good pace, and the essential elements of the original story were all there. The lectures in the original book were removed, and the dramatization really brings out the story as a children's classic.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The acting was superb, and having the main narration performed as though by the author adds an extra dimension, rather than having a straight narrator. I also really liked the addition of Julia McKenzie, as having her doing the songs really added to the story, since there are some dramatizations where songs are cut out.

Any additional comments?

I remember hearing this broadcast in 1998, and the family made an off air recording of it. I've really enjoyed this version ever since, and was delighted to find it on audible. I remember hearing this broadcast in 1998, and the family made an off air recording of it. I've really enjoyed this version ever since, and was delighted to find it on audible. If you find this book hard to read, try the radio version, you won't regret it.