Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Time Machine Classics Illustrated 133

(Graded Reader)

So, I'm continuing to experiment with reading comic books to my students during Story Time in my ESL classes.

The last one we did was the comic book version of Treasure Island.  Which the students reacted to very well.  So I decided to try out The Time Machine next.

The Time Machine is another one of my favorite books.  I read a simplified version of it as a kid, which had a big impact on me.  And I finally got around to reading the original text 3.5 years ago--my review HERE.

(In my 2014 review, I used the Classics Illustrated version for the picture because it was visually appealing and also non-spoilery. Now that I'm reviewing the actual Classics Illustrated comic, I wish I had used a different visual back in 2014.)

Anyway...
I was able to find two different comic book versions of this story online.  There was the Marvel Classics Comic book version (LINK HERE) and the Classics Illustrated version (LINK HERE).

 Of these two comics, the Marvel Classics version was more faithful to the original H.G. Wells story.  But the visuals were a little bit confusing, and the language was a bitdifficult.

Classics Illustrated on the other hand was very visually appealing and easy to follow.  Nice bright colors.  Very simple pictures.
And also, for the most part, incredibly simple language.
It was really ideal for the ESL classroom.

Unfortunately, however, the Classics Illustrated version had taken a lot of the punches out of H.G. Well's original novel.
In the interest of keeping this post spoiler free, I'm not going to list the plot points here.  If you read H.G. Well's novel, and if you read the comic, you'll be able to notice them for yourself.
I'll just say that a few of the darker twists were removed from the Classics Illustrated version.
Which I thought was unfortunate.
One of the reasons The Time Machine stuck in my mind so much as a kid was precisely because of the darker ending.

But in spite of this disappointment, I went with The Classics Illustrated  version just because it was so much more easier to read and more visually appealing to younger kids.

(Sidenote: Anyone out there read Classics Illustrated as a kid?  I think they were a bit before my time.  According to Wikipeda (W), they stopped publication in 1971.  But I've noticed there is a lot of nostalgia for Classics Illustrated on the Internet, so maybe they were available in reprint form during the 1980s? I personally don't remember hearing about them before the Internet though.)

I broke The Time Machine up into 4 separate parts, and used it for Story Time.
It was a huge hit.  The kids were really hooked on the story right from the beginning, and got sucked into the mystery of it.
Each time I got to the end of each section, they wanted more.  Student engagement was really high.
Even my wife (who I test piloted these stories on before using them in class) commented, "I really love these kind of imaginative stories."

The social commentary in the comic book is a bit vague.   (Although to be fair, I think some of this was also a bit vague in the original novel--it was hinted at, but not explicitly spelled out.)  So to help my students connect the dots, I put in a brief explanation at the beginning of part 4 to more explicitly point out to them what the theme of the novel was.

Link of the Day
Noam Chomsky Trump's Policy Review

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