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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

Mark Twain Made Mischievous Fun

Mark Twain made mischievous fun as a boy, and he never stopped making such fun. The practical jokes he played in his youth laid a foundation for some of the humor that would make him famous. According to some, all witty geniuses, Mark Twain included, developed their sense of humor after first playing pranks as children. I’m not sure about the truth of this. I would hope it were not so. Still, if it were to be true, anticipating this end result would probably provide some comfort to whomever has to raise a child prankster. In essence, pranks embody tricks[…] Read More

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

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