Monday, February 29, 2016

Different Versions, Same Story?

I am the kind of person who likes to know the “right” way to do something. I am also the kind of person who likes to know what the original version of a book or movie was.
Two times this month, I found myself reading versions of books to my children that were not the original stories. This is not a bad thing, but we were missing out because of this!
First, I ordered a copy of Eric Carle's "Pancakes, Pancakes" from Amazon. Because I was in a hurry and picked the cheapest option, I ended up with the “Ready to Read” version of the story. The book arrived and I found this printed on the cover: This book was previously published with slightly different text.“Oh well” I thought, “what could possibly be missing?”
I stumbled upon a large picture book format of the same title at a garage sale and realized we had been missing out on a lot! The beautiful illustrations on the inside covers, the line, “So Jack went down to the cool cellar and pulled a jar of strawberry jam from one of the shelves,” among other things. In the ready to read version, we have no pretty inside cover and the jam part reads “So Jack got some strawberry jam.” I get it, I mean this is a version for kids to be able to gain confidence reading. But read aloud, this version doesn't sound as great as it should. 

Should we compromise a story for the sake of making it into an easy reader? Or should we stick with stories like Syd Hoff's 'Sammy the Seal' and “Thunderhoof” or Dr. Seuss titles? Do we need to reduce, sometimes even “dumb” down wonderful things to make them digestible?

My second incident this month started when I ran across Inga Moore's version of The Reluctant Dragon at the library. I realized once I got the book home that it was an adapted version, but we did greatly enjoy the illustrations and this version of the story. I did a little bit of research and found this article Abridging 'The Reluctant Dragon.'  Now I can't wait to get the version illustrated by Ernest Shephard, especially because of the opening line. What's interesting is that my library system only has two copies of this version from what I understand. I want to read what Kenneth Grahame wrote! I find Moore's retelling very accessible and charming while not talking down to children, and I imagine many retellings available are of good quality. However, these two events have me on alert to make sure what I am reading to my children is quality, especially when it comes to abridged versions.

If I did not do an extra search and find the correct version and did not have access to used books, how would I know/find/be able to read what the authors originally intended?
What do you think about different versions of books?

I'm linking up with Literacy Musing Mondays over at Forever Joyful. Please check out all the wonderful links there!

1 comment:

  1. This is something to really consider. I think I'd end up reading both versions to my child. I am ordering both of these so I can see the differences and decide which book would be read to my child. Love the depth of this! Thanks for sharing with us at Literacy Musing Mondays!


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