An eerie graphic novel mystery that is bewildering and unnerving in the best way possible.

A boy and girl must uncover the secrets of a ghost boy cursed to haunt a playground.

In a neighborhood in Kyoto, Japan, Hisao and Sayuri meet a boy, Toothless, at a small playground and soon discover that he is a ghost imprisoned there. He shares with them that the playground has magic abilities: The swings allow you to see into someone’s dreams, the sandbox brings life to your innermost fears, and the slide makes you young or old, depending on which direction you go on it. When their friend falls victim to the slide’s power and ends up in the hospital, so old that he is suffering from dementia, they must uncover who Toothless really is in order to save him. Following clues, the two kids find disturbing evidence of another crime as they unearth the truth. Although this is a ghost story, the spookiness is well-balanced with endearing moments of friendship, and there is beauty in the way the characters help each other change and develop. The Japanese-style black-and-white illustrations have sharp lines and detail, creating an alluring, eerie world. They capture emotions and evoke sounds, making readers feel as if they are in a real ghost story. The narrative and illustrations work together seamlessly to create mysteries that are baffling yet intriguing.

An eerie graphic novel mystery that is bewildering and unnerving in the best way possible. (Graphic novel. 12-adult)

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-183-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018


From the Wordplay Shakespeare series

Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced...

A pairing of the text of the Scottish Play with a filmed performance, designed with the Shakespeare novice in mind.

The left side of the screen of this enhanced e-book contains a full version of Macbeth, while the right side includes a performance of the dialogue shown (approximately 20 lines’ worth per page). This granular focus allows newcomers to experience the nuances of the play, which is rich in irony, hidden intentions and sudden shifts in emotional temperature. The set and costuming are deliberately simple: The background is white, and Macbeth’s “armor” is a leather jacket. But nobody’s dumbing down their performances. Francesca Faridany is particularly good as a tightly coiled Lady Macbeth; Raphael Nash-Thompson gives his roles as the drunken porter and a witch a garrulousness that carries an entertainingly sinister edge. The presentation is not without its hiccups. Matching the video on the right with the text on the left means routinely cutting off dramatic moments; at one point, users have to swipe to see and read the second half of a scene’s closing couplet—presumably an easy fix. A “tap to translate” button on each page puts the text into plain English, but the pop-up text covers up Shakespeare’s original, denying any attempts at comparison; moreover, the translation mainly redefines more obscure words, suggesting that smaller pop-ups for individual terms might be more meaningful.

Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced e-book makes the play appealing and graspable to students . (Enhanced e-book. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2013


Page Count: -

Publisher: The New Book Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013


Hinds adds another magnificent adaptation to his oeuvre (King Lear, 2009, etc.) with this stunning graphic retelling of Homer’s epic. Following Odysseus’s journey to return home to his beloved wife, Penelope, readers are transported into a world that easily combines the realistic and the fantastic. Gods mingle with the mortals, and not heeding their warnings could lead to quick danger; being mere men, Odysseus and his crew often make hasty errors in judgment and must face challenging consequences. Lush watercolors move with fluid lines throughout this reimagining. The artist’s use of color is especially striking: His battle scenes are ample, bloodily scarlet affairs, and Polyphemus’s cave is a stifling orange; he depicts the underworld as a colorless, mirthless void, domestic spaces in warm tans, the all-encircling sea in a light Mediterranean blue and some of the far-away islands in almost tangibly growing greens. Don’t confuse this hefty, respectful adaptation with some of the other recent ones; this one holds nothing back and is proudly, grittily realistic rather than cheerfully cartoonish. Big, bold, beautiful. (notes) (Graphic classic. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4266-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

Close Quickview