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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Originally by Washington Irving
Abridged by Fiza Pathan and Michelangelo Zane
Illustrated by Farzana Cooper
Reviewed by Barry Boy
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Fiza Pathan and Michelangelo Zane is a rewrite, an abridged version of the 1799 American classic by Washington Irving, and illustrated by Farzana Cooper.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is set in Tarry Town on the eastern shores of the Hudson River. We are told that it acquired its name from the women of the town, because their men spent too much time in the inns and that the area and its inhabitants were prone to ideas, thoughts and visualisations of a supernatural nature, one of which was that of a headless horseman.
Most of the story involves an impoverished out-of-town teacher, who decides that his prospects would be greatly improved, if he could persuade one of his young pupils, the beautiful heiress xxx to marry him. However, this upsets several local youths, who think that they should have the first crack of the whip. The teacher seems to be impervious to this conflict of interest though, and that forms the crux of this story.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is written in the third-person and in a slightly archaic style, which only enhances the rhythm and appeal of the story. I am sure that there must have been a temptation to bring the language up to date, but I am glad that they resisted it. Having said that, I do not think that the target audience, children, will have any trouble with it either. Indeed, it may even encourage some children to read older, say, classical texts. Despite the quirky old dialogue and often descriptive, somewhat jocular narrative, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow has been edited very well, which is always a plus-point.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow has been professionally produced, and, according to sleeve notes, is part of a planned series which includes classics from Britain, Russia and the USA, making the proposed series international in character.
Abridged, and film, versions are often looked down on, but I think that this version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow has been well executed. Friends tell me that the 1999 film version was good too, but I haven’t seen it.
Nevertheless, I give The Legend of Sleepy Hollow abridged version by Fiza Pathan and Michelangelo Zane, and excellently illustrated by Farzana Cooper, five stars out of five, and look forward to reading the next one.
Podcast: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow