If you are a fan of The Time Machine, why not introduce your children to your favourite story and offer them an illustrated simplified retelling of Wells’s classic novel for Christmas ?

Illustrated adaptations of The Time Machine have been around for quite a while. The earliest I have come across dates from 1952. Over the last twenty some years, there have been quite a few and many of
them are still being reprinted today. Granted, the quality of these varies greatly; however, some of the recent editions are quite well produced.


Click on image for examples of Illustrations from this edition

In 2001, Dalmatian Press decided to include Wells’s The Time Machine in its selection of works for its Dalmatian Classics series. It was important for editor Kathy Knight that the adaptation remain faithful to the original text. Her introduction reads, “We kept the well-known phrases for you. We kept the author’s style. And we kept the important imagery and heart of the tale.” Indeed, writer W.T. Robinson did a marvellous job of adapting the text, keeping as much of the original as possible, while simplifying some of the words for greater clarity for young readers. Although simplified, the text sticks closely to the original and maintains Wells’s social commentary, so that the moral of the story is not watered down or simply done away with, as too often happens in such adaptations. In fact, it is rather ironic that an adaptation aimed at children should be substantially more faithful to the original text and message than the recent Hollywood movie remake whose producers deemed Wells’s narrative too sombre for movie-going audiences.

In this respect, one might find the cover illustration of Dalmatian’s adaptation slightly misleading as it is clearly inspired by the visuals in the DreamWorks remake and might lead some to assume that the book is a novelized version of the recent movie remake. Not so. The text as well as interior illustrations staunchly adhere to Wells’s storyline from beginning to end. The book is profusely illustrated in black & white with over seventy drawings by fantasy artist Jason Alexander. Since its original publication in the fall of 2001, the Dalmatian Press edition has gone through several reprints.


Click on image for examples of Illustrations from this edition

Another recent adaptation was published in England by Evans
Brothers in 2002 as part of its “Fast Track Series”. This is a far shorter version decidedly aimed at young readers who might be discouraged by long books. Written by Pauline Francis, it features a very simple retelling and a rather condensed version of the story. The few monochrome illustrations by Gary Andrews also are simple but adequate. Many of the details of the story are missing, most notably, the dissertation on the fourth dimension and the journey to the far future. However, it is certainly a fair introduction to this classic story for young readers. Coincidentally, the illustrators for both the above editions chose to replace Wells’s winged Sphinx with a winged human !


 


Click on image for examples of Illustrations from this edition

Those who are quite fond of the classic George Pal movie may enjoy an earlier adaptation dating from 1990 but still available today, which features depictions of a Time Machine patterned after the well-known Pal design. This simple retelling in Random House’s “Bullseye Step into Classics” series remains nonetheless fairly faithful to Wells’s story - even including the episode in the far future – but it features the most simplified and short text of all above editions and is therefore the most suitable for very young children. The many illustrations by John Edens are elaborate and are sure to captivate young minds.

 

Make sure that your little ones – like wee Jamie – find a book in their Christmas stocking or under the Christmas tree and, of course, make sure that this book is entitled “The Time Machine” !

These two adaptations are available through Amazon.com
This one through Amazon.co.uk

The Time Machine

H.G. Wells

Amazon.com

The Time Machine

H.G. Wells

Amazon.com

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The Time Machine Project 1998 Don Coleman
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