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Adapted Classics Blog

Jerome Tiller, Author at Adapted ClassicsBlog Posts

Hop-Frog – Righteous Anger and Revenge

Middle school teachers can use Edgar Allan Poe’s Hop-Frog to explore and discuss the topics of righteous anger and revenge. Throw in bullying and it’s a trifecta! These topics can grab and hold the attention of middle school students as they develop the skill of searching for meaning in literature. Regular topics for discussion in a middle-school english classroom? Not likely. But worthy of discussion in these tumultuous times? Absolutely—or anytime. The Hop-Frog story introduces readers to a bully king and his bully counsellors. They had captured two dwarves, Hop-Frog and Trippetta, and forced them into service. The dwarves developed[…] Read More

How We Work Together – Illustrator and Adapter – Illustrated Literature

How we work together, Illustrator and adapter, on our Adapted Classics collection of illustrated literature, required an explanation. Deciding how to explain my role was bothering me as I prepared to make a presentation to a fourth grade class of students at the Community School of Excellence in St. Paul, Minnesota. I knew it wasn’t bothering Marc Johnson-Pencook. He could talk about drawing all day long. He could demonstrate his methods of composition using the tools of his trade and the skills he had developed to become one of the best pen and ink illustrators ever. And he could do[…] Read More

Edgar Allan Poe – A Fascinating, Talented Writer

Edgar Allan Poe was a fascinating, superbly talented writer who lived a troubled, unfortunate life. He was born in Boston on January 19, 1809. His father, an actor, abandoned his family when Poe was one year old, and his mother, an actress, died of tuberculosis when he was two. Brought up by foster parents who never adopted him, Poe did not fit in well at home. A gloomy person, Poe also did not fit in well at school, in the military, or within society at large. But he sure could write well.  At the age of eighteen he was a[…] Read More

‘Good’ Reviews are Hard to Get – You Can’t Buy One.

Sammy's Day at the Fair - Good reviews

‘Good’ reviews are critical to publishing success, but they are hard to get. You can’t buy one. You can, but don’t bother. Every high-volume book buyer knows about those phony, for-a-fee lures. And they avoid them like fish avoid rotten bait.  ‘Good’ reviews come in one size only. I discussed this in my last blog. I pointed out that selves (self-publishers) don’t get these reviews. But large publishing houses get them in bunches. That might give high-volume purchasers (libraries, bookstores, schools) pause to think about justice, but probably not. And probably not about honesty, either. I don’t doubt elite book[…] Read More

Waiting for Recognition – All We Do

Waiting for recognition is about all we do. Early on this year we went through the process of sending our newly published books (Hawthorne Illustrated and Sammy’s Day at the Fair) to eight pre-publication reviewers. Not to all pre-publication reviewers—there’s a few more. But we sent books to the ones almost every acquisition librarian (school and public) consults before shopping for new books to add to their collections. We got nothing back from those reviewers. Not a word. Not a wink.  But really, dopey. What did me expect? Distinguished book reviewers don’t review books published by selves! They virtually always[…] Read More

Why Adapt a Classic Story – A Fair Question

Why adapt a classic story? That’s a fair question. It deserves an answer. After all, classic stories have earned their timeless designation just as they stand. So why mess with them?  I have relatives and friends who wonder at my audacity or sanity for undertaking a venture like Adapted Classics.  I am more inclined to explain myself to those who question my sanity. Some ventures are undertaken because of stupid expectations for success. As for audacity, I deny I am audacious. I never believed we were improving the classic stories we adapted. I simply believed we were making them more[…] Read More

Picture Books are for Kids and Adults

Picture books are for kids, but many adults like them too. You can call these adults big kids, and you can call picture books illustrated literature. I suppose a special group of students at Iona College wouldn’t care one way or the other. These students belong to a student organization called Admirers of Illustrated Literature. I would like to get to know them.  The Iona College campus rests peacefully in New Rochelle, NY, about twenty miles north of hectic mid-Manhattan. Carl Reiner, creator, producer, writer, and actor on The Dick Van Dyke Show (with bunches of other credits, including son[…] Read More

Feathertop Satire in Classroom Discussions

The satire in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Feathertop works well for middle-school classroom discussions. Many literary intellectuals say the satire in this story is too obvious to be effective. But aside from child prodigies, middle-school readers aren’t as full-blown heady as literary intellectuals. That makes Feathertop a perfect introduction to satire for them, and for me too.   No question, the satire in Feathertop is obvious on the surface. After all, the story is precisely about the artificial masks humans wear to misrepresent what lies beneath. Middle school student will discover this surface satire immediately. Either that or they will easily accept[…] Read More

Feathertop – Stranger from a Strange Land

Feathertop, a stranger from a strange land, appeared on a city street just as it peaked with life and bustle. His garments and poise suggested nothing short of nobility. He wore a plum-colored coat with a glistening star upon its breast, a waistcoat of costly velvet, a pair of splendid scarlet trousers, and the finest and glossiest of white silk stockings. Walking with measured paces, straight as a soldier, he managed a gold-headed cane with airy grace. But the most remarkable point in this stranger’s appearance was the fantastic pipe he regularly put to elegant use. It had an exquisitely[…] Read More

Nathaniel Hawthorne – Hawthorne Illustrated

Nathaniel Hawthorne has impressed many literary critics and influenced many authors over time. He became famous early in his career and his fame has endured. Recently we sent advertising to school and public librarians to tell them how well-respected Hawthorne was and still is. We knew these career book collectors needed no reminder of that, but we told them anyway because we like shouting from the rooftop. Since we are trying to appeal not only to librarians but to the general reading public, we are blogging the same stuff we just shouted to them. In Hawthorne Illustrated, master pen &[…] Read More