In Roger Ebert's blog at the Chicago Sun-Times, he's completely trashed the Macmillan Readers version of The Great Gatsby (Retold by Margaret Tarner). He can't believe that this is for typical American high school students. In fact, it isn't. The book clearly says in the front matter that it's "for learners of English," but Ebert seems to have missed that part.
There are some very good arguments against badly written graded readers, but they are pretty much the same arguments against any badly written or translated book. Ebert's position seems to be something along the lines of `write all the crap you want, but don't mess with the classics.'
When it was pointed out to him that the book is for English language learners, his response was: let them read young adult fiction. This is indeed a good solution for some learners at certain ages with certain interests, and with a pretty good level of English. Contrary to what you might think, the correlation between the age of the intended audience and the range of vocabulary used is actually much weaker than you'd imagine.
(Thanks to Clarissa C.S. Ryan (who writes Talk to the Clouds) for pointing this out via the Extensive Reading Group.)