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

ANIMUS

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 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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

MACBETH

From the Wordplay Shakespeare series

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

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: The New Book Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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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

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