Odds and Ends–but not as much of the middle.

05Mar10

from Amazon

Monica Edinger at Educating Alice has had some great posts this week. She reviewed Countdown by Deb Wiles, who is a former classmate of mine, and a friend. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve ordered my copy.

Monica also looked at some fun stuff about Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, including Lewis Carroll’s Nursery Alice, which I had also never seen, though one of my treasured books an Annotated Alice. And she did a send-up of a Nursery Harry Potter.

As a certified C.O.F. I not only agree with her that Nursery Alice “cringe-inducing” but I also get to muse on why so many kid/nursery adaptations are awful.

Several kids have mentioned reading some of the old classics recently: Swiss Family Robinson, 20000 Leagues Under the Sea and Treasure Island to name a few. A little questioning and I realized they’d read abridged “kid’s” versions of the works in question. And I pretty much just bit my tongue.

I remember being stuck on a boat for a couple of months with no reading material except Reader’s Digest abridged versions of books I’d (mostly) already read, and reading those anyway.

It was a horrifying experience. The plot was there, but there was no character development, no sense of place or time. And without the character development, who cares what motions the character goes through.

What about the “nursery versions” of books like Alice in Wonderland? No character development issues there, but there’s something obviously wrong with them, and I think it’s there in abridged books, too, just not as overtly: I think the abridgers and those who feel the necessity of writing a nursery version of a work don’t respect their readers.

Gentle readers, what would you think of a thing like that?

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