When looking at children’s versions of The Canterbury Tales it is interesting to take note of which tales are included and which are left out. Each of the children’s books looked at include some sort of prologue and conclusion to give the tales context the same as Chaucer’s story. The children’s versions of “The General Prologue” tend to simplify things by sticking to the basic plot points, the pilgrims all meeting at the inn and Bailey’s suggestion of each taking turns telling stories as they travel and drawing straws to decide what order to tell the tales in. They leave out the detailed description of each pilgrim and poetic, sensual descriptions of spring seen in Chaucer’s opening verses as seen in the Norton edition. An e...
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...ates the text beneath it, but also adds to the story with dialogue in Middle English. The images assist young readers in teasing out the meaning of Chaucer’s language. Also, along the bottom of each page is illustrations of the pilgrims as they journey towards Canterbury. In addition to presenting images of the tale and the pilgrims, the margins of each page feature birds or other animals commenting on the tales as if they are reading along with readers.
Upon reviewing three versions of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales done as children’s storybooks, one can see that Chaucer’s tales are essencially timeless and can be enjoyed today as they were in the Middles Ages. While the amazing poetic skill of Chaucer’s work is not included in the modern children’s versions, which are written in simple prose, the key plot points are kept, unbowdlerized even for young readers.
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