Madame Bovary, Crime and Punishment, Anna Karenina, The Return of the Native, and The Portrait of a Lady: Not a one of these books is suitable for a children’s adaptation. Finally, we reach The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn and I think to myself, “Yea! Time to do some searching to see what’s out there for kids!” Where’s the first place I looked? Great Illustrated Classics of course! It worked for Moby-Dick and Oliver Twist.
Friends, the Great Illustrated Classics have let me down. I only made it to page twelve before being seriously disappointed.
We all met by a clump of bushes not far from the Widow’s house. There was me and Tom and Ben Rogers and Tommy Barnes and Joe Harper. We talked for a little while, and then we all took an oath of loyalty to the club. We elected Tom captain and Joe Harper second caption, and then we started home.
What? Is that how you remember the first meeting of Tom Sawyer’s gang? What happened to signing the pledge in blood? What happened to the ransoming discussion?
I skimmed the rest of the novel. The meat is there, but there’s no seasoning. No spice. All the Twain flavor has been removed.
Let’s hope things improve with The Red Badge of Courage