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Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment – Hawthorne for Middle School

Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment leads a new Adapted Classics compilation of three illustrated stories for middle school readers by Nathaniel Hawthorne. We titled the compilation Hawthorne Illustrated and published it August 31, 2018. In 2014, Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment, in single story form, was the first in our Adapted Classics collection of stories. To begin with, we liked the story as much as any we’ve ever read. Also, we knew it would fully demonstrate the amazing artistic skills and inventive mind of illustrator Marc Johnson-Pencook. As short stories go, few are as visually rich as Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment, and nobody renders pen and ink[…] Read More

ArtWrite Productions – Sammy’s Day at the Fair

Publication Dates Little ArtWrite Productions had postponed the publication dates for two forthcoming books due to lack of interest. But we have now published the books. ”Sammy’s Day at the Fair: etc., etc. and “Hawthorne Illustrated”, on August 1, 2018 and August 31, 2018, respectively. In a December blog I announced the aforementioned books whose publication dates we then later postponed for lack of interest. I focused on pretty thoroughly previewing “Hawthorne Illustrated” in that December post. I also said why the other one, Sammy’s Day, etc., etc., though not a classic, has classic qualities and why you should be[…] Read More

Twain’s Carnival of Exaggerations

Witty Mark Twain’s trickery usually got people to snicker or chuckle, but Twain’s carnival of exaggerations more often made them laugh. Twain used and blended many comic forms, including witty jokes, puns, ludicrous impressions, irony, sarcasm, satire, and understatement. But very often he relied upon exaggeration to great comic effect. Like many humorists before him, Twain learned too much of anything, taken playfully, makes people laugh. But as mentioned in a previous post, a playful audience for humor is essential. For instance, if sensitive to the violent use of firearms, as many of us are after yet another massacre at[…] Read More

Hawthorne Stories for Middle School

Bundling illustrated Hawthorne stories for middle school made for pleasant work. That’s because Nathaniel Hawthorne tells great stories that illustrate well. Quite frankly, we believe kids and their parents should read them. We think who wouldn’t like Hawthorne stories, especially when masterfully illustrated by Marc Johnson-Pencook? So, we went and did it. We published Hawthorne Illustrated, a volume of three Hawthorne on August 31, 2018. Middle school readers will happily soak up these stories if only parents would point, maybe nudge them, to drink from the great classics well. Speaking of wells, Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment leads the combined three stories we[…] Read More

Fans of Adam – Mark Twain’s The Diaries of Eve and Adam

Fans of Adam might dislike ArtWrite Productions, the publisher of the Adapted Classics book, “Mark Twain’s the Diaries of Eve and Adam”. The reason? The publisher decided to place Eve’s name before Adam’s in the title of the book. This upsets tradition, fans of Adam might say, and you do not upset tradition to appease women or to appeal to them for financial gain (women do buy more books than men, and men almost never buy books for their children). Well, fans of Adam, do you want to know what lake you can jump into? How about the first lake[…] Read More

Illustrated Classic Literature for middle schoolers?

Can you imagine a parent rejecting the purchase or loan of a book of illustrated classic literature for their middle school reader because picture books are for little kids? You should be able to imagine this because it probably happens all the time. Major book publishers and booksellers have seen sales of illustrated books slump during the past couple of decades. They speculate parents are responsible for the decline in sales. They think parents point kids to chapter books early on because they want their kids to rapidly advance in school. And of course, eventually succeed as adults in a[…] Read More

Nathaniel Hawthorne – A Serious Man and a Funny Guy

Did you know Nathaniel Hawthorne was both a serious man and a funny guy. Many people who think of him as nothing but a great moralist should read “Mr. Higginbotham’s Catastrophe”. Hawthorne told it in a light, humorous vein, and he didn’t use it to deliver a great moral message. But as for serious—well, this story is…seriously funny. And seriously sweet! Unusual though this story is coming from Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, a contemporary of Hawthorne and a renowned literary critic, praised “Mr. Higginbotham’s Catastrophe”. He described it as “vividly original and dexterously managed”. Other critics have favorably compared[…] Read More

Mark Twain’s Eve and Adam – Gender Stereotypes?

When Mark Twain developed the characters Eve and Adam in his creation stories, did he rely upon and perpetuate gender stereotypes? Although most of the people who have read and reviewed “Eve’s Diary” like the story, some readers found fault with Twain’s portrayal of Eve, especially after she began taking an interest in Adam. Twain took on a daunting task when he decided to fictionalize the story of creation. He must have known how his characterizations of Eve and Adam, the very first human creatures, would be seen. They would be seen as archetypes for all succeeding generations of both[…] Read More

Adapting Eve & Adam – Intentions and Principles

Issues regarding intentions and principles loomed while adapting “Mark Twain’s The Diaries of Eve and Adam”. I was concerned that Eve’s character could change if I added new material to combine two separate stories by Twain. But I gave myself leeway to add material because I had no intention to change Eve’s character. Heck, I would not intentionally change any aspect of any character created by Mark Twain. My sole motive in adding new material was to keep dialogue going between Eve and Adam from beginning to end. I tried to keep Eve’s character in line with Twain’s Eve by closely considering[…] Read More

Mark Twain’s Goal – Bringing Eve & Adam Together

Mark Twain wanted to bring Eve and Adam together, but his goal went unrealized until after his death. Twain wanted to unite his “creation stories” so Eve and Adam’s different perspectives on creation would stand in high contrast. As Twain said, “They score points against each other — so, if not bound together, some of the points would not be perceived.” In 1931, 21 years after Mark Twain died, Harper finally brought the stories together by publishing a book titled “The Private Life of Adam and Eve”. Mark Twain was a writer at ease with organizing and presenting his ideas. He[…] Read More