Pilgrim's Progress was written by John Bunyan while he was in prison in 1678 during a 12-year incarceration. He was in jail because he preached without the permission of the church of England. The story is told in two parts. The first is his dream of Christian journeying from his home through the Gates of Heaven to the City. The second part is the story of his wife, Christiana, and her journey with their children after her husband had been gone a while.
So, which do you choose? Well, I think it depends on what you're looking for--and who you're looking for.
If you're looking for a way to share the story with young children age 5-9 years old...
...you could listen to Adventures in Odyssey's rendition. They did two episodes based on The Pilgrim's Progress. I loved them. You can purchase them for MP3 download here: http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=DA14895-1&item_code=WW&netp_id=858136&event=ESRCN&view=details Each episode is $2.) These episodes were actually my first exposure to The Pilgrim's Progress. Adventures in Odyssey seems to follow after the Little Pilgrim's Progress. It is quite different from the original, but it has elements that are common to both.
If you're looking for a very modern edition with a lot of pictures..
Lion Children's Books / 2004 / Hardcover
But, this edition is very modernized. It doesn't stick very close to the original book in the first few pages.
If you're looking for an edition which homeschoolers have written curriculum for...
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 1985 / Hardcover
Dangerous Journey is used by several curriculums and if you google this book, you can find resources to use with it. There are a lot of illustrations, but the book isn't the closest edition that I found to the original. I don't have a copy of it, so I can't say how much is taken out of the story, except that a lot must be because the length of this book is far shorter than others that only cover Part 1 about Christian. The last chapter is about Cristiana. Her story, which is as long as part 1 in the original, is summarized in one chapter.
Answers in Genesis has also written an all-in-one curriculum using the original, unedited edition written by John Bunyan that is available on CBD. Because it uses the original edition, would recommend it for 6th-10th grades. The questions may seem a little young for 9th and 10th graders, but it depends on the student, I believe. I was quite surprised that the people who review it recommend it for 4-6th graders. If the edition were not the original, it would seem more appropriate to me for 4-6th graders.If you're looking for an edition that retells the story with Christian as a young boy instead of as a man, then...
Little Pilgrim's Progress: From John Bunyan's Classic
Moody Publishers / 2006 / Paperback
Little Pilgrim's Progress by Helen Taylor does that. But, the story is very different than the original by John Bunyan. From the very beginning, it is different. John Bunyan tells the story as if seeing it in a dream. That the story is a dream is not mentioned at the start of Chapter One by Helen Taylor. Moody's edition of this story has some black and white drawings to illustrate the story, but not many. Ms. Taylor wrote this abridgement many years ago and it is a classic in its own way.
If you're looking for an edition that sticks very close to the original edition with only minor changes or for an edition to read yourself, then...
The Pilgrim's Progress, Deluxe Illustrated Edition
Crossway Books & Bibles / 2009 / Hardcover
When The Pilgrim's Progress, Deluxe Illustrated Edition arrived, I opened it up and immediately felt that if I were to read one edition of it myself, this would be it. I compared it side by side with the original and I was pleased with the changes the editor makes. It is like comparing the KJV of the Bible with the ESV translation. Changes have been made, but they have sought to be as literal as they could while making it more readable. They did not make changes which were extremely modern or use any type of slang language. There were many little changes that other editions made which I was surprised by. Several didn't even introduce the story as a dream that John Bunyan had. Others did things like use Christiana's name in the beginning of the story. In the original, her name isn't mentioned until Part 2.
This edition would be very readable for a middle or high schooler on their own or for parents reading with their 8/9-13 year olds. Every few pages, there is a beautiful illustration. These illustrations were actual paintings that were created for this edition. One thing to note, though, is that this edition is only Part 1 of the original Pilgrim's Progress. Comparing this book to the original has really made me examine what I think about reading the classics. I won't discount modern editions of classics as quickly as I have at times. I actually found this edition so much easier to read and understand. The formatting makes it easier to keep one's place. I also liked that the Bible verses which the story illustrates are footnoted on each page, rather than included in each sentence.
I have this edition published by Crossway, in addition to the Adventures in Odyssey episodes and an unabridged copy of the original Pilgrim's Progress in my possession. So, I have made all comparisons and observations of the other editions based on the previews available on CBD and Amazon. This is why most of my observations are made on how close the editions are to the original in their wording.
It was very interesting to begin comparing all of the editions available on CBD. If I were going to purchase one edition, the edition published by Crossway would be the one I would purchase. It stays close to the original language and story, which I value. The illustrations are beautiful and I enjoy them. I highly recommend it because of the color illustrations, text, and formatting.
Please also note that I did receive a complimentary copy of The Pilgrim's Progress, Deluxe Illustrated Edition for review from Crossway Publishing.