A shrewd and spirited adaptation that will leave audiences hoping for another installment.

CHESHIRE CROSSING

The action of this graphic fantasy takes place Second Star to the Right, straight on through the Looking Glass, in a place that is definitely not Kansas anymore!

Novelist Weir (yes, the Weir of The Martian fame) and cartoonist/illustrator Andersen’s deliciously funny debut team-up reunites the heroines from three of the Victorian era’s most memorable children’s books and sends them on a rollicking adventure. All teenagers, Wendy Darling, Dorothy Gale, and Alice Liddell are united at a special research facility where their parents send them to be educated. Under the tutelage of the enigmatic Dr. Rutherford and the ever watchful eye of a certain nanny who flies via umbrella, each girl discovers her powers and a sense of personal agency as they team up to free their respective fantasy lands from the combined menace of the Wicked Witch of the West and Capt. Hook. Each heroine emerges as a fully three-dimensional protagonist with a distinctive personality that enables her to feel both timeless and timely. The tart-tongued Alice is not averse to dropping the occasional “#%$@,” while tomboyish Wendy is as battle savvy as Peter ever was. Andersen’s delightful cartoon drawing style meshes perfectly with Weir’s prose, allowing the work to broaden its appeal beyond middle graders to young adults and adults. In the illustrations, Alice and Wendy both present white while Dorothy has brown skin.

A shrewd and spirited adaptation that will leave audiences hoping for another installment. (Fantasy. 12-adult)

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-58207-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Will appeal to manga fans but raises questions around depictions of racialized material.

OTHELLO

From the Manga Classics series

An illustrated reimagining of one of Shakespeare’s most memorable tragedies.

From the very beginning of this clever adaptation, effort is made to prioritize accessibility of both the manga form and the classic Shakespearean play: The frontmatter briefly highlights the reading direction of the panels, and characters are labeled when introduced, coming to life via a striking combination of early modern Venetian dress; quintessential manga hairdos and facial expressions; and pronounced linework. Like the rest of the series, this account of Othello remains faithful to the original. The black-and-white illustrations allow for Iago’s conniving manipulations to manifest visually as well as animating characters’ bigotry in impactful, distressing ways. However, there are shortcomings: Where the original text may use parentheticals and asides to progress the story, the occasional appearance of parentheses in speech bubbles are a distracting reminder that comics utilize storytelling tools that haven’t been fully adopted here. Likewise, panel after panel of Othello’s turn to violence and his enraged face obscured by shadow provide a poignant dramatic effect but seem to exacerbate prejudices inherent to both the play and medium. Not only is the titular character visually distinguished from other characters by his shading, hair, lips, and overall size, unfortunately neither Shakespeare nor the illustrator seem wholly prepared for a contemporary conversation regarding racial representation in one of literature’s most infamous depictions of othering.

Will appeal to manga fans but raises questions around depictions of racialized material. (adapter’s notes, character designs) (Graphic fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-947808-13-3

Page Count: 420

Publisher: Manga Classics

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

Shakespeare’s fantastical dream in an appealing format that can be shared with a wider audience.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

From the Manga Classics series

Manga that brings to life Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy.

This third entry in Manga Classics’ adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays maintains their practice of reproducing the full text of the original. The black-and-white illustrations allow readers to easily follow the plot while also picking up on subtle themes that are significant to understanding the play. For example, the abundant imagery surrounding the moon is emphasized by the moon’s presence in the backgrounds of many panels throughout the book, drawing readers’ attention. Long dialogues are also explained visually, which allows young readers to grasp what is being discussed without the need for a glossary or translation into modern English. The nobility is portrayed in a typical manga fashion with large eyes, small noses, and well-defined ears—but with appropriate Grecian clothing—while the commoners are easily visually distinguishable from them in style. The guide to reading manga at the beginning unfortunately describes the right-to-left reading order as “backwards from the normal books you know,” a strangely judgment-laden description for a book using manga to broaden the cultural exposure of young readers. However, the creators’ notes at the end offer fascinating insights into the adaptation process and may inspire budding manga artists to attempt their own works.

Shakespeare’s fantastical dream in an appealing format that can be shared with a wider audience. (cast, creators’ notes, character design sheet) (Graphic fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-947808-10-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Manga Classics

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

more