The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: Abridged & Illustrated
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About the Author
Washington Irving (1783-1859) was an American writer, historian and diplomat. Irving served as the American ambassador to Spain in 1840s, and was among the first American writers to earn acclaim in Europe. He argued that writing should be considered as a legitimate profession, and advocated for stronger laws to protect writers against copyright infringement. Irving's love for adventure and drama influenced his work heavily. His most popular works, Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, were inspired by his visit to the Catskill mountains. Irving is credited to have perfected the short story form, and inspired generations of American writer.
"Washington Irving's classic fable about a ghostly horseman, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, has long thrilled young readers, particularly in the fall when pumpkins are to be found in pumpkin patches, and the days grow short. This abridged version by Fiza Pathan and Michaelangelo Zane does a sterling job of ﬁlling it out in such a way as to grab the attentions of young readers who have grown up with the works of Rowling, Lemony Snicket and other modern children's authors. Pathan and Cooper have done an incredible job with the illustrations that are found throughout the work. The black and white images give an air of history to the story, and I was convinced while reading that they were actually wood-cut prints. The images of Crane and his rival Brom Bones are fabulous and help to reinforce the alien nature of the elegant schoolteacher whose intentions toward Katrina are not at all what they seem. I had a grand time revisiting Sleepy Hollow and thrilling to the legend of the Headless Horseman. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is most highly recommended." - Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite.
Firstly, I must tell you, I do enjoy the classics. For me, there is little to compare with the joys of Dickens or Joyce; and I'm most happy settling down with a copy of Pride and Prejudice than, say, The Da Vinci Code. So, I happily undertook a newly abridged copy of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. This book, it seems, is very much for children between the age of 8 and 12. As such, the abridging authors have worked hard to simplify the language; and, I'm happy to report, they have worked wonders. Written in 1820 and at just under 12,000, the original short story is, 'wordy' - and that is putting it mildly. For example, 'Be that as it may, I do not vouch for the fact, but merely advert to it, for the sake of being precise and authentic.' A story written in this manner is a daunting prospect for any young reader; and, no doubt, for the poor teacher trying to instigate any sort of enthusiasm in the classroom. But, with a gold-tipped pen, Pathan and Zane have pruned, nipped and manipulated the text in such a way as to open it up to children. Now, there's always the risk of killing the story if the abridging author cuts too deeply. But, happily, this is not a problem here. Yes, many of the rambling paragraphs have been altered and cut, but the tormenting plot of ghostly goings-on in Tarry Town is still very much there to be enjoyed. If I was to suggest anything to the two authors, it might be that they be very daring, and introduce speech into the story. Having worked with children and books all of my life, I have discovered that the 'chattering' of a character always seems to help the unwilling reader to access the text. Of course, by adding speech, this would be altering the text to a very large degree. However, I think it might be worth it. Although this abridged text is considerably more accessible to children than the original, the lack of any speech between the characters will still be a huge hurdle that many reluctant readers will not be capable of overcoming. Finally, I must discuss the illustrations. They are, in every way, wonderful. They reminded me of the old wood cuttings that can still be seen in books dating as far back as the 1600s. There is so much 'happening' in the drawings that I was very much enthralled by them; in every way, they add considerably to the book. In fact, I would go as far as to say, it is the illustrations that make this book stand out from other books of this nature. Children will undoubtedly love them. -A 'Wishing Shelf' Book Review