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Adapted Classics Blog

illustrated classic literature | Adapted ClassicsBlog Posts

Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment Deserves it’s Classroom Reputation

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s’ Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment deserves it’s reputation as a good story for students to analyze in the classroom. Because I knew about it’s great reputation with secondary educators, I chose it to be the first book in our Adapted Classics collection. But I only partly chose it because its great reputation. It also suits my personal taste. And, most importantly, it perfectly fits all the criteria I set for selecting classic stories for adaptation. I include a story’s pictorial quality—how well it will carry illustrations—as a major criterion. And wow—does this Hawthorne story illustrate well!  Marc Johnson-Pencook, with great[…] 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

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

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

Mr. Higginbotham’s Catastrophe – Hawthorne Illustrated

Mr. Higginbotham’s Catastrophe holds down the second spot in Hawthorne Illustrated, our new Adapted Classics compilation of three illustrated stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Humorous at it’s core and sweet in substance, this story carries no overt moral messaging. That differentiates it from other Hawthorne tales. Mr. Higginbotham’s Catastrophe simply charms and entertains while spotlighting Hawthorne’s wry sense of humor, which he also melded into many stories with serious content. Told in typically beautiful Hawthorne prose, Mr. Higginbotham’s Catastrophe entertains, but it also serves as a fine example of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s versatility as a story-teller. You don’t want to miss it, especially[…] Read More

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

Be Silent, Be Still — Illustrations fit well with Literature

Be silent, be still is a meditative prescription. Meditators of all types in all eras have practiced and prescribed quieting the mind to attain serenity, wisdom, self-knowledge, and more. And now, in modern times, given the increasingly noisy and complex environment in which we live, meditation serves more and more as a survival technique. Be silent, be still certainly makes sense if you can get there, and meditative practitioners promise that you can if you try. For most of us, however, getting there provides quite a challenge. Could I buy a pass? Where do illustrations in literature fit into all[…] Read More