Sunday, June 6, 2021

Review: Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles adapted by Stephanie Baudet

 Happy Sunday!  Today's review swings around a new set of books, which brings classic stories down to a middle grade level. These are rewritten, shortened, favorite part...illustrated, too. I'm a fan of The Hound of the Baskervilles and was excited to pick this one up to see how it was done. But I'm not saying what I thought of it, yet (because that would defeat the purpose of my review, right?)

Out of curiosity, are there any classics which you loved and think should be adapted so middle graders enjoy them and get to know them, too?

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Adapted by Stephanie Baudet
Illustrated by Arianna Bellucci
Sweet Cherry Publishing
Middle Grade Mystery
112 pages
ages 8 to 12

OCTOBER 12th!!!

An illustrated adaptation of the classic Sherlock Holmes adventure - at an easy-to-read level for readers of all ages!

With a deadly phantom hound on the loose and a mysterious man living on the moors, Devon is a dangerous place to be. But Holmes and Watson must put their fears aside. The country's favourite crime-fighting duo need to unravel the strange case of Sir Charles Baskerville's murder before his nephew meets the same fate.

About the Sweet Cherry Easy Classics series:
Sweet Cherry Easy Classics adapts classic literature into illustrated stories for children, introducing these timeless tales to a new generation. (All titles in the series are leveled for classroom use.)

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I loved the idea of an adaptation of this story for middle graders and was more than curious to see how well it was done. I was not disappointed.

This tale follows the original from Arthur Conan Doyle very tightly, and really does simply try to bring it down to a level which is easier for middle graders to enjoy and understand. I very much appreciated that this didn't mean 'dumbing' it down, either. The writer keeps the same tone of the loftier (historical?) language, makes it understandable, and manages to weave it in a way which won't soar over the audience's head. So, hats off to her for that! That also means that this one is suitable for adults, who enjoy the tales but struggle (or don't have the patience) to deal with the original Sherlock Holmes novels. Also, the style makes it perfect for a classroom situation, since it keeps the atmosphere of the original tale and opens the door to classics, in general.

While sticking to the same atmosphere of the original tale, this book never grows boring thanks to a few extras. Firstly, there are a few (very few) explanations thrown in for those things readers will not recognize or understand. I, personally, would have liked to have seen more of these, but that's my own personal thing. I did enjoy the illustrations quite a bit and found that they helped to lighten things up wonderfully. They are well done, dribbled in at just the right rate, and make it even approachable by slightly more reluctant readers. The illustrations (along with the larger font), also did make this one a very quick read...I was surprised how fast I soared through this one.

I was impressed at how well this adaptation captured the original tale and am looking forward to see what other works are underway.

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