Classic Comparisons

Once upon a time there was an old blind man with a harp. His name was Homer, and he spoke Greek, and he was really good at composing long poems about the adventures of Greek heroes. He never wrote anything down because that's just not how things were done back then, but other people did, and what Homer sang and they wrote we call The Iliad and The Odyssey.

Much more recently, you (or someone like you) stood in a bookstore and wondered why there were twelve thousand versions of these two relatively short books. Were there sequels? Did people other than Homer come up with the same stories? Or are there just different covers for one or two versions?

It's easy to resolve the problem by simply buying the least expensive copy. And it isn't just the works of Homer that present us with similar decisions: there are multiple editions of Virgil, Dante, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Cervantes' Don Quixote, etc. Does it matter which one you pick? Is cheapest always best?

Well, to quote a great philosopher, the price don't enter into it. The main reason there are so many versions of these books is because there are so many translations, and there are so many translations because foreign or ancient languages can be interpreted in so many ways. Choosing the best one can be exceedingly difficult, as each translation has its own strengths and weaknesses, and one size almost never fits all. With books written and published in English, there might be a wide selection of editions due to a variety of illustrators. Some books have had a variety of retellings, and our goal is to familiarize you with which ones might best suit your needs.

That's why we've developed the Classic Comparisons pages. The issue here isn't to prove which version is the best—it's to help you figure out which version may become your favorite. Each page includes an original introduction to the text itself, links for further reading and activities online, an exclusive overview, kids' versions, and occasional extras. In the case of translation differences, we offer a side-by-side comparison chart of several versions, and if it's all about the illustrations, our pages will offer samples of the artwork. 

We started this section with an original dozen titles, but have several more in the works. Please be patient with us as several of those pages are still under construction! We hope you'll find these helpful, and that you'll learn as much from them as we did in making them.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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427 Items found Print
Adventures of King Arthur - Coloring Book
by Arkady Roytman
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Literary & Fantasy Coloring Books (Location: COL-LIT)
$3.39
Adventures of Robin Hood
Everyman's Library Children's Classics
by Roger Green, illustrated by Walter Crane
from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Fairy Tales, Fables, and Legends for 5th-9th grade
in Everyman's Library (Location: FIC-EVERY)
$14.41
Adventures of Robin Hood
Puffin Classics
by Roger Green
from Puffin Books
Legends and Folklore for 5th-9th grade
in Puffin Classics (Location: FIC-PUF)
$7.99
Adventures of Robin Hood
by E. Charles Vivian
from Airmont Publishing Company, Inc.
for 4th-8th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: FIC-ADV)
$2.55 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Robin Hood - MP Student Guide
from Memoria Press
for 5th grade
in Memoria Press Literature & Poetry (Location: LITSG-MP)
$11.95 $8.00 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Robin Hood - MP Teacher Guide
by Tanya Charlton
from Memoria Press
for 5th grade
in Memoria Press Literature & Poetry (Location: LITSG-MP)
$12.95 $9.00 (2 in stock)
Adventures of Sir Balin the Ill-Fated
The Knights' Tales
by Gerald Morris
from HMH Books for Young Readers
for 4th-6th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$5.94
Adventures of Sir Gawain the True
The Knights' Tales
by Gerald Morris
from HMH Books for Young Readers
for 4th-6th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$5.94
Adventures of Sir Givret the Short
The Knights' Tales Book 2
by Gerald Morris
from Sandpiper Books
for 5th-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
Adventures of Tom Thumb
by Charlotte Craft
First Edition from HarperCollins
for Nursery-2nd grade
Adventures of Tom Thumb
by Charlotte Craft
First Edition from SeaStar Books
for Nursery-2nd grade
Aeneid
by Virgil (translation by Robert Fitzgerald)
from Vintage Classics
Ancient Literature/Epic Poetry for 10th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: LIT1-ANC)
$11.90
Aeneid
by Virgil (translation by Robert Fagles)
from Penguin Putnam
for 9th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: LIT1-ANC)
$15.30
Aeneid
Penguin Classics
by Virgil (translation by David West)
Reissue from Penguin Classics
for 9th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: LIT1-ANC)
$13.60
Aeneid
Penguin Classics
by Virgil (translation by Sarah Ruden)
Reissue from Yale University Press
for 9th-Adult
in Ancient Literature (Location: LIT1-ANC)
Aeneid - Memoria Press Package
from Memoria Press
for 9th-12th grade
in Memoria Press Classical Studies (Location: HISCUR-MP)
$44.92
Aeneid - MP Student Guide
by Cody King
from Memoria Press
for 9th-12th grade
in Memoria Press Classical Studies (Location: HISCUR-MP)
$16.95
Aeneid - MP Teacher Guide
by Cody King
from Memoria Press
for 9th-12th grade
in Memoria Press Classical Studies (Location: HISCUR-MP)
Aeneid for Boys and Girls
by Alfred J. Church
from Yesterday's Classics
Roman Mythology for 5th-8th grade
$8.46
Aladdin and Other Favorite Arabian Nights Stories
Dover Children's Thrift Classics
by Philip Smith, editor
from Dover Publications
Eastern Fairy Tales for 3rd-6th grade
$2.55 $1.70 (3 in stock)
Aladdin and Other Tales from the Arabian Nights
Puffin Classics
by N.J. Dawood
from Puffin Books
Fairy Tales for 2nd-6th grade
$6.79
Aladdin and Other Tales from the Arabian Nights
by William Heath Robinson, illustrator
from Everyman's Library
for 6th-9th grade
in Everyman's Library (Location: FIC-EVERY)
$15.26
Alex O'Donnell and the 40 CyberThieves
by Regina Doman
from Chesterton Press
for 7th-10th grade
Annotated Milton
by John Milton
from Bantam Books
for 11th-Adult
in 17th Century Literature (Location: LIT4-17)
$5.91
Annotated Wind in the Willows
by Kenneth Grahame
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Fantasy for 4th-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$33.96
Arabian Nights
Illustrated Junior Library Series 4
by Earle Goodenow, illustrator
from Grosset & Dunlap
Eastern Fairy Tales for 4th-8th grade
Arabian Nights
by Sir Richard Burton, trans.
from Bracken Books
for 10th-Adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: LIT2-MED)
Arabian Nights
Illustrated Junior Library Series 2
by Earle Goodenow, illustrator
from Grosset & Dunlap
Eastern Fairy Tales for 4th-8th grade
Arabian Nights
Companion Library
by Anonymous
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 3rd-6th grade
Arabian Nights
Scribner Illustrated Classics
by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora A. Smith, editors, illustrated by Maxfield Parrish
from Charles Scribner's Sons
Eastern Fairy Tales for 9th-Adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: LIT2-MED)
Arabian Nights
International Collectors Library
by Sir Richard Burton, illustrated by Steele Savage
from International Collectors Library
for 9th-Adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: LIT2-MED)
Arabian Nights
Illustrated Junior Library Series 1
by Earle Goodenow, illustrator
from Grosset & Dunlap
Eastern Fairy Tales for 4th-8th grade
Arabian Nights
Calla Editions
by Rene Bull (Illustrator)
Reprint from Dover Publications
for 4th-12th grade
Arabian Nights
by Orton Lowe
from John C. Winston
for 3rd-6th grade
Arabian Nights
Children's Classics
by Rene Bull, illustrator
from Dilithium Press, Ltd.
for 3rd-8th grade
Arabian Nights
Scribner Illustrated Classics
by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora A. Smith, editors, illustrated by Maxfield Parrish
from Charles Scribner's Sons
Eastern Fairy Tales for 9th-Adult
in Scribner Illustrated Classics (Location: FIC-SCRIB)
$29.99
Arabian Nights
by Richard Burton
from Canterbury Classics
for 10th-Adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: LIT2-MED)
Arabian Nights
by Padraic Colum
from Aladdin Paperbacks
for 4th-8th grade
$8.49
Arabian Nights
Illustrated Junior Library Series 3
by Earle Goodenow, illustrator
from Grosset & Dunlap
Eastern Fairy Tales for 4th-8th grade
Arabian Nights
Books of Wonder
by Brian Alderson, illustrated by Michael Foreman
from HarperCollins
for 4th-8th grade
Arabian Nights
Illustrated Junior Library Series 2
by Earle Goodenow, illustrator
from Grosset & Dunlap
Eastern Fairy Tales for 4th-8th grade
Arabian Nights
Dent & Dutton Illustrated Series
by E. Dixon, illustrated by Joan Kiddell-Monroe
from E.P. Dutton & Co.
for 9th-Adult
Arabian Nights
by Amabel Williams-Ellis, illustrated by Pauline Baynes
from Blackie & Son LTD.
for 9th-Adult
Arabian Nights
by Laurence Housman, illustrated by Edmund Dulac
from George H. Doran Company
for 9th-Adult
Arabian Nights - Audiobook
by Jim Weiss
from Well-Trained Mind Press
for 3rd-8th grade
in Audio Books & Dramas (Location: CD-AUDIO)
Arabian Nights - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by John Green
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: COL-DOV)
$3.36
Arabian Nights Entertainments
by Andrew Lang
from Dover Publications
for 3rd-5th grade
$12.71
Arabian Nights I
Signet Classics
by Richard Burton (Translator), Jack Zipes (Adapter)
from Signet Classics
Eastern Fairy Tales for 9th-Adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: LIT2-MED)
$8.46
Arabian Nights II
Signet Classics
by Anonymous, Sir Richard Burton (Translator), Jack Zipes (Adapter)
from Signet Classics
Eastern Fairy Tales for 9th-Adult
in Medieval Literature (Location: LIT2-MED)
$7.61
Arabian Nights: Three Tales
by Deborah Nourse Lattimore
from HarperCollins
for Preschool-2nd grade
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