Monday, February 14, 2011

The Pilgrim's Progress for Children... Which edition do you choose?

I recently discovered when I began my search on CBD for an edition of The Pilgrim's Progress to read to my children that there are many editions out there.

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... 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:  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..

Pilgrim's Progress

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...

Dangerous Journey

Edited By: Oliver Hunkin
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

By: John Bunyan, ed. by C.J. Lovik
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.


becky.onelittle said...

We read Dangerous Journey when the kids were 4,5, and 6. Asher was almost 3. Elizabeth was a baby. All of the older kids asked to read it again and again. Micaela read it to herself over and over. Even Asher would sit through a chapter or two at a time. I was very pleased with it overal- but that's been nearly two years ago, so I don't remember specifics about it. After having read Dangerous Journey, Micaela loves to listen to an unabridged audio version of Pilgrim's Progress, but it's over the boys' heads (so is over hers as well, but she won't let on :) I'm glad they're comfortable with it, and I know they won't be afraid to tackle the entire work later on.
I've not seen any of the others, but for 1st and 2nd grade I think Dangerous Journey was great. :)

becky.onelittle said...

I think my long comment disappeared :) For 1st and 2nd grade, I loved Dangerous Journey, but I haven't seen any of the others. So there's my vote :)

Anne said...

That's interesting! Wow. I never would have thought to read it to them so young. Your children are so bright, though. I'm glad you liked Dangerous Journey. How did they summarize Part 2 in one chapter?

Anne said...

I do think you would like the edition published by Crossway. If you're ever looking for an abridged version you'd feel comfortable with. I have to be honest, I liked the language and writing better in the edited version. It wasn't as choppy to me. But, Bunyan did write it in the 1600s.

becky.onelittle said...

It spends about a page on each major location- her calling from the Prince to come to the Celestial City with her four sons, Beelzebub's Castle, the Interpreter's Castle and the Valley of the Shadow of Death, Vanity Fair, Doubting Castle (two pages) and then the River. The illustrations are very engaging for the kids. And the story itself was wonderful for them. The book has a wide format, so it does get more words on a page than the typical picture book.
When we revisit Bunyan in the middle grades, I will be looking for an abridged version. Micaela's only in third, so we haven't got there yet:)
Btw- will you be teaching Latin? I'm actually loving First Form- Prima Latina was too easy for her this year, and she finished it in 3 months so they recommended putting her in First Form a year early. I really like it and we're going slowly, but for kids with a strong grammar foundation I think it's great! I toyed with Lively Latin, but changed my mind because EVERYONE in Chattanooga uses Memoria Press (including her best friend) so... Anyway that has nothing to do with Pilgrim's Progress :) Sorry, I'm very congested today and a little confused...

becky.onelittle said...

I don't think they're anything but normal :) They have some BIG weaknesses, but reading is not Micaela's weakness- unless maybe it's reading when she shouldn't, reading too much, or something of that nature.

Anne said...

For the Middle Grades, I think you'd like Crossway's Pilgrim's Progress then. And I highly doubt that your children are normal! ;)

We aren't planning on doing Latin. I am going to introduce Spanish when ours are in 5th,3rd, and K. Reading Nurture Shock challenged our ideas about when we were going to introduce foreign language. I know Latin isn't exactly the same as Spanish, but I think I'd be overwhelmed trying to tack let :s

What Grammar do you use by the way?

becky.onelittle said...

Micaela has always used First Language Lessons and then their second and third grade books. But she finished a year early, so now we're working through Rod and Staff Grammar 4 (I switched because I didn't know that WTM was developing a continuation of the series.) I'm not sure how I like Rod and Staff yet. Somethings are a good change, others aren't.
I had three years of Latin in school and loved it. I LOVE how structured Latin is. Latin is way easier to me than Spanish or anything since I've never had any other language than Hebrew- and I can't seem to find a good modern elementry hebrew language course (doesn't seem too useful either :) . Rosetta stone is too basic and not enough grammar to really teach a root language like that I think. At this point Micaela wants to learn French- the langauge of ballet- and I've told her she's welcome to do that after finishing 2 more years of Latin, which I expect her to do around 6th grade, though she may finish early and surprise me. I will either find her a class or a tutor at that point and also begin working through a French grammar course with her on our own. If she still wants to learn French. I'll also teach them basic Biblical Hebrew and Greek at some point. Nathaniel is determined to learn Spanish now, so I've told him he'll start Latin a year earlier than Micaela, and if he's able he can continue on to Spanish earlier if he does well. Gabriel and Asher still try to avoid all school at all times- haha if only they knew that that only makes it harder.