Book Focus: The Prince and the Pauper – Pontes Books Blue Version (and Purple Version)

We understand that there are many different options to choose from when it comes to the Pontes Books versions of The Prince and the Pauper. For that reason, we are going to spotlight the different versions in this and upcoming blog posts. For a brief overview of the different versions, see our previous blog post. Today we are focusing on the blue version (and the purple version).

What is the blue version?

The blue version of the story is almost exactly the same as the original version of The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain. However, there have been adjustments made to the vocabulary and the sentence structure. To simplify the vocabulary, some of the more challenging or old-fashioned words have been substituted for simpler or more modern words. To simplify the sentence structure, periods are added to replace semicolons and, in many cases, commas. Complex and compound sentences are often simplified to simpler sentences.

So what does that look like? And why does it help?

Simpifying the vocabulary

Original sentence example: Tom Canty, left alone in the prince’s cabinet, made good use of his opportunity. He turned himself this way and that before the great mirror, admiring his finery; then walked away, imitating the prince’s high-bred carriage, and still observing results in the glass.
Example with simplified vocabulary: Tom Canty, left alone in the prince’s study, took advantage of being alone. He turned around in front of a large mirror, admiring his fancy clothes; then walked away, imitating the prince’s royal walk, continuing to watch himself in the mirror.

You can see the corresponding words/phrases that have been color-coded above. Sometimes it’s simply a synonym that has been substituted (like glass to mirror). Other times, a whole phrase has been reworded to simplify it (like “still observing results” to “continuing to watch himself”). Sometimes if there are too many challenging vocabulary words, it can really get in the way of understanding the story. This is what sometimes makes Classics unenjoyable to readers. Removing the obstacle of challenging vocabulary can help readers to get to the core of what makes these books so timeless: the story!

Simplifying the Sentence Structure

Original Sentence Example (with simplified vocabulary already worked in): He only begged just enough to keep himself safe, because the laws against begging were strict, and the punishments harsh; so he spent a good deal of his time listening to good Father Andrew’s delightful old tales and legends about giants and fairies, dwarfs and genies, and magical castles, and fancy kings and princes.
Simplified Sentence Structure Example: He only begged just enough keep himself safe. The laws against begging were strict, and the punishments harsh. So he spent a good deal of his time listening to good Father Andrew’s delightful old stories. They were tales and legends about giants and fairies, dwarfs and genies, and magical castles, and fancy kings and princes.

You can see how the sentences from the first example have been split up for the second example. So why does this make a difference? Our brains learn that they can rest at the end of a sentence. Periods signify the end of a complete thought. So when we are focusing on comprehension, we know that we have all the information we need to make sense of what is being said. However, when the sentences become longer and more complex, it can sometimes be hard to track ideas when they are split over various phrases and clauses. Transforming them to simple sentences allows comprehension to come much more quickly.

So what is the purple version?

The purple version combines two books in one. It takes the original Mark Twain version (Red Version) and presents it side-by-side the blue version. This is referred to as a parallel text. This allows readers to switch back and forth between the original version (that contains the more complex vocabulary and sentence structure) and the blue version. Readers can challenge themselves by reading the original version and then using the blue version if certain sections are confusing. Or they could read the blue version first to get the general idea and then read the red version to get the full effect of the original language used. The possiblities are endless!

If you have any questions, contact us at admin@pontesbooks.com.

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