Leo Tolstoy –– Fellow Adapter

Fellow adapter? Am I equating myself with Leo Tolstoy? Are you kidding? I don't equate anybody with Leo Tolstoy. He is not only a master, he is the master. I just mean that, besides being the greatest original author of all time, he did adapt stories and tales for publication, just as I do. I adapt classic stories for middle school youth and beyond. This is the way Tolstoy and I are similar. But that’s it. That’s my only comparative claim.

But even within this similarity lies a huge difference—I mainly adapt classic stories to fit them with illustrations and normally adjust the narrative sparingly.Tolstoy adapted stories and tales to put his own spin on them, and he did not add illustrations to the stories he adapted.

One of the stories in Tolstoy Illustrated: Three Stories by Leo Tolstoy was written by famous French author Guy de Maupassant in 1843. The others are just two of the many unattributed fables that Tolstoy drew from a large inventory of Russian oral folktales. All three convey moral values he held dear beginning mid-life and lasting until his death in 1910.

Tolstoy Illustrated will also introduce readers to three young artists (Liam O’Neil, Molly Dekarski, Fina Mooney) trained at The Art Academy, a renowned educational institution in St. Paul MN. How can you not be impressed by these young artist’s interpretation and rendering of selected scenes in these stories? Their depictions show what the expert education of imaginative, young minds. can produce.

Consequently, much credit for the illustrations in Tolstoy Illustrated is due to Jim Robinson, the art educator who founded The Art Academy in 1993. He has enriched the lives of hundreds of young students there by sharing with them his vast historical and technical knowledge of graphic arts. In various ways, many of his students, including the three young artist who produced illustrations for Tolstoy Illustrated, have made or are making Art their lifetime occupations.Yay for all of them! And good for us all.