Adapted Classics Blog

Discreet Illustrated Literature for Adults (and Youth!)

Fully illustrated literature for adults is hard to find. Once it was common to see illustrations sprinkled within the pages of novels, but never much more than merely sprinkled. Except for graphic novels, it has always been hard to find fully illustrated literature for adults. The two Mark Twain stories we have now combined to create our upcoming “Mark Twain’s The Diaries of Eve and Adam” were notable exceptions. “Extracts from Adam’s Diary”, published in 1904, and “Eve’s Diary”, published in 1906, were hardcover books intended primarily for adult readers. Full illustrations grace every other page in both books. The[…] Read More

Promote Pleasure Reading in Young People

Studies by the U.S. Department of Education have shown the overall amount of pleasure reading by young people has steadily declined. There are many theories why this is so, including those that point to trade-offs and time constraints; young people abandon pleasure reading to focus instead on digital devices or to use what once had been free time to expend extra effort in meeting the regimented demands of an achievement culture. Yet everyone knows that young people will seek and find fun wherever it can be found – it’s their natural instinct. Then what if they were  to find more[…] Read More

Revealing Illustrated Literature – Mark Twain’s The Diaries of Eve and Adam

ArtWrite Productions will publish “Mark Twain’s The Diaries of Eve and Adam” on June 30, 2017. It will be the sixth book in our Adapted Classics collection of illustrated literature. We are happy to announce this will be the first time we publish an Adapted Classics book in both hardcover and softcover. Near the end of his life, Mark Twain wrote a series of six stories commonly known as the ‘Adamic Diaries’. Four of the stories poke fun at Christianity and are dark in tone. These stories were not published until after Twain died in 1910. Two of the six[…] Read More

Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment – Topics For Teachers to Explore

As indicated in our last post, this marks our first blog that suggests topics teachers might want to explore in classroom discussions involving stories in the Adapted Classics collection. The first book we published in the collection is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment, and there are lots of topics teachers might want to explore in this one. You might ask why Dr. Heidegger conducted the experiment. What did he hope to find out? The subjects in the experiment might trigger other questions. All of them were old friends of the doctor, so we know Dr. Heidegger knew them and and that he[…] Read More

Fiction and Classroom Discussions

Some of the best classroom discussions led by teachers in my early school years involved literary works, usually fiction. Teachers found fiction to be especially fertile ground for classroom discussions because no student could ever truly be right or wrong. Students knew they were entitled to their own opinions about themes, characterization, motives, etc. Everybody had their own interpretation about the stories, and nobody would tell them that theirs were wrong. Classroom discussions about fiction often got students who rarely spoke-up in class to offer their opinions. Students were safe with fiction. They couldn’t be wrong. We select, adapt, and[…] Read More

Fiction can enlighten while it entertains

In our last post, shade was thrown on the idea that fiction can enlighten a reader. The post also contains the suggestion that reading to be informed is worthwhile while reading fiction merely entertains –  and that it doesn’t do such a very good job of that compared to numerous alternatives. Setting aside the opinion that reading fiction is an inferior way to entertain oneself, let’s deal with the issue of enlightenment. First of all, we probably need to clear up what might be some confusion in terminology. Knowledge and enlightenment are not synonymous. Insofar as information contains real (not fake) facts,[…] Read More

Illustrations Enhance the Appeal of Classic Stories

The idea was that we would add illustrations to classic stories to enhance their appeal. Middle-grade readers would see the books on a library or classroom shelf, fan the pages, see the vivid, often humorous illustrations, and give the old stories a try. The stylish prose in finely crafted stories by master authors would then captivate middle-grade readers. They would attain a greater interest  in the language of their lives – that which they hear and speak and write. And literature! Our thin, little books with illustrations might be the first plunge many middle-grade readers take into the deep world of literature. The[…] Read More

Arthur Rackham v. Marc Johnson-Pencook

Arthur Rackham (September 19. 1867 – September 6, 1939) was one of the pre-eminent illustrators in what is known as “The Golden Age of Illustration”. This age was primarily a British phenomena. It lasted about 30 years, roughly from 1890 until 1920. Arthur Rackham’s art work, at first in pen and ink only but soon in color as well, graced many books for children from 1893 right up until his death in 1939. In the “Tales of Mystery and Imagination”, the Poe collection referenced in our February 1st blog, he contributed 40 illustrations, 12 in color and 28 in pen and ink.[…] Read More

Is Edgar Allan Poe’s Hop-Frog safe for kids?

Is Hop-Frog by Edgar Allan Poe safe for kids? One of the factors that persuaded us to include Hop-Frog in the Adapted Classics collection was its inclusion in “Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination”. George G Harrap & Co. Ltd  published that volume of illustrated, unadapted Poe stories in 1935. The Harrap Company specialized in publishing educational books, but they also published many illustrated books for children. So we don’t think we presumed too much when we decided to publish our version of Edgar Allan Poe’s Hop-Frog. After all, a noted major publisher found Hop-Frog and other Poe tales safe for children[…] Read More

Is Hop-Frog by Edgar Allan Poe too much for kids?

Leave it to Edgar Allan Poe to stir up a controversy. Some adult readers of Hop-Frog believe the story is unsuitable for our main target audience, middle-school readers. No doubt, Hop-Frog is a disturbing tale. It is unlike all the other books in the Adapted Classics collection to date, all of which contain at least an ample amount of humor (and that includes  Edgar Allan Poe’s Thou Art the Man). Nothing Funny about Hop-Frog There is nothing funny about Hop-Frog. It is a story about maltreatment and revenge. And true to Poe’s typical story-telling mode, the climax of the story[…] Read More