- Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Hound of the Baskervilles (Great Illustrated Classics)
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- January 1, 2008
- Sherlock Holmes #5
- Great Illustrated Classics #65
Great Illustrated Classics are aimed at a younger audience, but how well do they hold up to the original? I first got the idea to do this comparison series when my SO got me a copy of The Swiss Family Robinson as a gift, after having mentioned reading the GIC version growing up. Eventually, I’ll have cross-reviewed all of them, my full list of cross-reviews can be found here: Great Illustrated Classics.
I first read the “simple” version, as my significant other and I have been referring to them as first. But a few things seemed off to me. They’ve made slight changes to the original, such as removing the entire scene where Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson deduce facts about Dr. Mortimer based on his walking stick, which I took issue with. Not only because it’s my favorite scene, but because it shows just how inept Dr. Watson is at his job.
In the original book, Holmes and Sidekick have missed their guest, Dr. Mortimer, while he went off on a walk. In the simple version, Sidekick is the one to introduce Dr. Mortimer to Holmes. I find it odd though, the random aspects of the original they re-worked. When Sidekick first picks up Dr. Mortimer’s cane, Holmes inquires about what he’s able to determine by studying it. He comments that Holmes must have eyes in the back of his head, to which he responds that he used a highly polished silver coffee pot. While in the simple version, Holmes uses the coffee pot to inquire about Sidekick’s guest.
Another such mention is Sir Henry’s dress of a tweed suit and matching hat. While nearly every other detail and conversation has been heavily simplified. The pacing is completely broken as it feels as if a major plot event is happening every other page as the editors had to condense an entire story into a handful of pages.
The faithfulness to the original is pretty high, considering they had far less to work with. Both in terms of page count and print size. The accompanying illustrations are well done and enjoyable to look at. Though I find it odd that the first letter of nearly every word is capitalized and the captions themselves really offer nothing; at best they just repeat what the reader has just read. Anybody with a reading skill high enough to read this book could easily tell which scene the illustration is depicting.
I first read the Great Illustrated Classics version of The Swiss Family Robinson in middle school. Though I think this book could easily be read and enjoyed by a much younger audience. I think it could be suitable for both parents and teachers who wish to get their kids into reading or classic literature in general.
If you’d like to read my review of the original, you can do so here: Review: The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle.