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Adapted Classics Blog

middle school literature Archives | Adapted ClassicsBlog Posts

The first person opening of “Thou Art the Man”

The first person opening of Edgar Allan Poe’s Thou Art the Man had to go, so we went ahead and cut it. We promised an excuse for this in our last blog. Here you have it: We did it for our audience. We adapt classic short stories primarily for modern, middle school readers, by adding illustrations. But we also slightly modify the narratives. We do both for the sake of the audience, especially for the youngest segment of our readers. And we do some of it because they, and we, are modern. Language, both vocabulary and the written ordering of[…] Read More

Edgar Allan Poe’s Viewpoint

Edgar Allan Poe’s viewpoint is predictable. He almost always uses a first-person narrator to tell his stories. However, only one of the three stories we collected for Poe Illustrated uses the first-person point-of view in the way Poe typically did.  A visitor to an insane asylum tells the story in System Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether. He knows all that happened during his visit because he lived it. He also expresses his own opinions and knowledge about the asylum before, during, and after his visit. Poe uses this first-person style of story-telling regularly, especially in his tales of terror.  In[…] Read More

Accessible Classic Literature for Middle-School

Accessible classic literature for middle-school readers? Soon, Poe Illustrated will fill that bill. We have this Edgar Allan Poe collection of stories in pre-production right now. We plan to publish in April 2021. It will include three illustrated Poe stories – our previously published Thou Art the Man and Hop-Frog, plus a new Adapted Classics title – The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether. We know that many middle school students enjoy reading classic literature just as originally written and presented. But we also know that many middle school students would never choose to read this type of fiction[…] Read More

Mark Twain is Running for Governor

Mark Twain is Running for Governor. But that’s fake news. Or just plain fiction, to use a more accurate term. For among other things, Mark Twain wrote political satire. Our latest story celebrates this brand of Twain humor during our 2020 election season. Twain wrote Running for Governor for his monthly column in The Galaxy, a literary magazine. He portrayed his fictional candidacy for Governor to be hopeless, just as if he had actually campaigned for the position. He knew that both major party candidates were generating newspaper propaganda in the New York election of 1870. And he knew those lies would doom any honest, independent candidate to defeat. Fake[…] Read More

Feathertop-Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Last Story

Feathertop was the last story Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote. Most literary critics do not rank it with his best. They usually find the story too far-fetched and its moral message too obvious. Both these criticisms may be valid, but it’ s also very difficult to please literary critics. Did they overlook Feathertop’s entertainment value? Mother Rigby certainly makes her disdain for human phoniness very obvious, but she does so with humorous digs and disses that have held up very well over time.  And when Feathertop gains self-awareness, when he realizes he is but a scarecrow stuffed with straw, his surrender to[…] Read More

Poe Illustrated Delayed Due to Pandemic

We have postponed the release of Poe Illustrated because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s doubtful anyone would be surprised. Ain’t about everything fun, good, and worthwhile delayed, postponed, or canceled? To say these are terrible times says about absolutely nothing. We are unhappy for everybody, and especially sad for those most effected, directly and indirectly . As a micro-publisher, we operate ArtWrite Productions/Adapted Classics out of a home. We do virtually everything remotely, or at least we could. So why not proceed with the publication? Well, classrooms in elementary and middle schools, their libraries, and public libraries, comprise our primary[…] Read More

Coming Attraction – Edgar Allan Poe Illustrated Stories

Coming soon, more Edgar Allan Poe illustrated classic stories, attraction guaranteed. That’s because Poe is who he is – master of the macabre, inventor of the detective story, and a sower of sly humor throughout all of his works.  Transcending obsolescence, Poe’s prose skillfully transports delightful sound and vivid sights into the ears and minds of modern readers, from middle school on. And his stories still greatly entertain. Normal middle school readers everywhere enjoy Poe’s abnormal stories for reasons that paranormal psychologists might understand even if you and I don’t. And that’s okay with me – I don’t mind. Nor,[…] Read More

Illustrated Classic Literature, Without Hue, is Natural

Illustrated classic literature, without hue, is natural. Yet I have heard fifty complaints about the hue-less illustrations in our adapted classics collection of illustrated literature for middle school readers. Modern youth demand colorful images, so why do we insist on peddling books with black and white, i.e.; pen and ink illustrations? Color is nice. We live in a world of color, and I’m glad that we do. But when we first set out to adapt classic stories for illustration, we immediately decided to illustrate the stories without color. That’s because, had these stories been illustrated when written many decades ago,[…] Read More

Hawthorne’s Illustrated Literature Not So Popular

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s illustrated classic literature is not so popular, but why not so much? Doesn’t he write perfectly poetical english prose? Why yes he does! And doesn’t he write scenes and characters that make surreal imagery flash to the mind and flow from the pen of master illustrator Marc Johnson-Pencook? Yes indeed—he does that too!  Middle-school readers should check out Hawthorne’s illustrated classic literature by viewing samples of his stories at Amazon and Apple Books, then plug him to middle school teachers who may have temporarily forgotten who Nathaniel Hawthorne is. He is truly great. And Marc Johnson-Pencook? He’s great[…] Read More

Mark Twain’s Carnival of Crime Exaggeration (Redux)

A carnival of Mark Twain exaggerations is on full display in one of our Adapted Classics stories, “The Facts Concerning the Recent Carnival of Crime in Connecticut”. You can now find digital versions of this irreverent tale at both Apple Books and Amazon. If you are reluctant to spend a coupla bucks to test your tolerance or taste for Twain’s irreverence, both sites offer a preview of the book before you make an investment.  This story would be a useful tool for showing middle school students how exaggeration works as humor. It would also be useful in a lesson that contrasts[…] Read More