Classic fiction, abridged
Several years ago, I found a series called Great Illustrated Classics. The publisher, Baronet Books, takes a well-known piece of classic literature, and adapts it into an inexpensive hardback, 200 pages+, with large type and a full-page illustration on every other page. I had some qualms about getting these books for my kids, since the originals are so much more worthwhile. But, it was my hope that these books would introduce them to the real thing, and eventually, when their reading proficiency advanced, they’d want to read the original. The risk I ran was that they’d forever be satisfied with an inferior, simpler work.
I’m happy to report that the risk paid off. The older boys (age 7 & 9) are now starting to read the “real thing” — though they still enjoy the adaptations. And, now, even my 5yo slowly (and with mom & dad’s help) read through our copy of Robin Hood — and I just saw a “bigger” Robin Hood book on his bed that he’d been trying to read, which prompted this post.
We own 8 or 10 books from the series, and have checked many more out from the library. They can commonly be found for around $6, but I think I bought all of ours off of www.half.com for less than $2 each. Also, if you’re a Sam’s Club member, they have a smokin’ deal of 20 titles for around $40, including shipping.
Some of the books aren’t really appropriate for really small children (The Count of Monte Cristo includes the suicide, for example), but those aged 5 to at least 10, and maybe even 12 or older will really appreciate most of the titles, and have a sense of accomplishment for reading such a “huge” book!