After being chased from the upper-class home of a young girl called Ellie, chimney-sweep Tom falls asleep and falls into a river. There he is transformed into a ‘water-baby’ and his adventures truly begin. Beneath the surface, he enters a magical world full of strange and wonderful creatures, where he must prove his moral worth in order to earn what he truly desires.
One of the most unusual children’s books ever written, The Water-Babies, subtitled ‘A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby’, was originally intended as a satire in support of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, and explores the issues at the forefront of biologists’ minds at the time. First published as a complete novel in 1863, Charles Kingsley’s classic tale also explores ideas about religion, the Victorian education system and the working conditions of children and the poor.