Giglets has published our first seven original illustrated and adapted classic ebooks for children and adults. Now that we’ve reached that benchmark, we’d like to share some bits and pieces about our titles and our journey so far.
Giglets is making an attempt to salvage some of the classics that are getting lost in the back of the library. We want to retell those great forgotten stories in language that is modern and easy to understand and, in doing so, bridge the gap between classic stories and modern readers.
Here are some of the challenges we faced with our first seven titles:
Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Speckled Band
This was a risky choice for our first title. Although it was short enough to ease our way into the rewriting process, we could hardly have picked a more recognisable character to begin with.
We discovered an ‘inaccuracy’ issue to do with an ‘Indian cheetah’ and we realised that sometimes our original authors may have made mistakes that we would want to correct. Look out for the bed bolted to the floor; we had to drop it from our text but we tried to keep the details of the original story in our illustrations.
John Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps
Gracious! This ebook was hard work! John Buchan wrote a nonstop action adventure story and we had trouble cutting it down to our Giglets-sized ebook. We took a little shortcut in the plot, can you tell where though? Of particular interest are the details of the car in one illustration and, of course, the vital clue to the whole mystery, the thirty-nine steps.
Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
This book is where the Giglets idea really came into its own. There is no doubt that Jekyll and Hyde is a brilliant story and it’s incredibly famous but sometimes the language simply gets too complicated or detailed for young modern readers. The Giglets team are delighted to know that we’ve already earned a few loyal young fans through this story. We’re even more delighted since it’s unlikely that they could have enjoyed the story in its original form.
James Matthew Barrie’s The Little White Bird or Adventures in Kensington Gardens: Peter Pan
Peter Pan is known the world over but not one of the Giglets team had ever heard of this story. This is the creation story of Peter Pan and it is precious. We had to make a few sticky decisions with this story but it turned out all right in the end. We’ve even included a few direct quotes from the original; if James Barrie wrote something perfect then there’s no need for us to change it.
James Hogg’s The Brownie of the Black Haggs
James Hogg is often forgotten about and we think that is a terrible shame. We rescued this text although as it’s quite a violent little horror story, it was a difficult one for us to publish. We think it works well and it’s certainly more popular than we expected. It has a funny ‘dourness’ about it that we’ve only ever discovered in old Scottish stories.
Walter Scott’s Waverley or ‘Tis Sixty Years Since
Waverley was the longest and most challenging text we’ve encountered thus far. Walter Scott is known for being wordy and that presented a problem for us in rewriting this story. Waverley is an enjoyable romantic adventure story but unless you have three weeks to read the original then don’t try. If you read it when you’re tired then you’ll fall asleep … but you can manage our rewrite in the time it takes to enjoy a cup of tea.
William Shakespeare’s Macbeth
We must have been mad to keep Macbeth for our lucky number seven. It is known for being unlucky but, in our case, ‘the Scottish play’ was a treat to write and illustrate and our only worry about it is that as it’s Shakespeare we might provoke a few sleeping giants and get told off for touching the Bard’s words. However, the story is a great one and we’ve tried to make it accessible to children as young as eight, here’s hoping it goes well; at the moment it’s too soon to tell.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride of excitement for us for the last few months but there’s something coming that’s more important and exciting than anything else we’ve had yet. Now that we’ve published our first batch of titles and they’re being picked up by readers scattered over the globe, we’re excited to hear what you think. Please tell us in the comments