Sunday, March 29, 2009

Illustrated Classics Edition

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
adapted by Mitsu Yamamoto, Illustrations by Pablo Marcos Studio
Moby Books - I. Walman & Son, Inc, 1979

The back of the book reads:
"After fourteen years in a dungeon, Edmond Dantes escapes by taking a dead man's place. Because Dantes is starting life over as a penniless sailor, his pursuit of vengeance will only be poosible if a huge treasure, revealed to him by a babbling, dying prisonmate, actually exists on the Island of Monte Cristo. Follow Edmond Dantes as he discovers the long-lost treasure and becomes wealthy, powerful and hard-hearted Count of Monte Cristo, whose one aim in life is revenge on the three men responsible for his imprisonment."

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain
Adapted by Lucia Monfried, cover illustration by Al Leiner
Moby Books- I. Waldman & Son, 1977

This is the book I remember owning. I was never a fan of these books simply because they weren't the "originals." I considered them inferior because they were adapted or edited or abridged books. I also had a copy of The Wizard of Oz among other books and was always fascinated by the bits and pieces of the novel version that were so far away from the film version. Yet, to this day I've not read any of the Frank L. Baum versions though I've always meant to. They look so intriguing, book after fantastical book, all lined up on the shelves at the library or the bookstore.

The back of this book reads:
"Knocked on the head in the nineteeth century, Hank Morgan wakes to find himself in King Arthur's England! The Connecticut Yankee uses all his scientific knowledge to become the King's chief minister, outwits the master magician, Merlin, and finally wins the kingdogm. But can he ever get back to Connecticut? Or is it all a dream?"

I enjoy time travel books and films (reminds me a wee bit of Kate and Leopold) and this makes me think of the recent essay I heard Chuck Klosterman read at the UND Writers Conference. What fun!

This book doesn't mention an illustrator but all three books have the same cover designer -- Al Leiner.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Adapted by Mitsu Yamamoto, Illustrated by Brendan Lynch
Moby Books - Waldman Publishing Group, 1983

The back of the book reads:
"Henry Jekyll, though a respected medical doctor, is shunned by his friends and associates because of his incredible belief that man is not truly one person, but two! Determined to prove his belief and to separate one man into two personalities and two bodies, Jekyll concocts a drug and tests it on himself. After that his life changes, bringing him into contact with the evil Mr. Hyde. Everyone but Jekyll despises the slimy Hyde as soon as he shows his repulsive self, but the doctor befriends him and even makes him his heir. What is the mysterious hold that the murderous Hyde has over Dr. Jekyll? Can it be broken--or will Jekyll become Hyde's next victim?

Is it just me or do the backs of these books tell a teensy bit too much? I really am a purist when it comes to not having TOO much knowledge going in to a book. I prefer the blank slate or the barest bit of an idea of the plot. Oh well. I guess many people know the basic premise of each of these stories. Though a "young reader" about to read one of these books for the first time may not. Of course, they may be pared down so much that one needs this extra bit of info. Who knows? At any rate, it was fun to revisit these blasts from the past. Here's a listing of some of the other titles in the series.

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