The Old Testament story of Joseph, the brother sold into slavery who becomes the pharaoh’s grand vizier, is interpreted in graphic-novel format.
Laff retains the familiar elements of the tale, laying them out in graphic panels. Joseph has special dreams and also becomes an interpreter of dreams. All his brothers are jealous of Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son, leading to his sale to some Ishmaelite traders. He is taken to Egypt, where he becomes useful in a wealthy merchant’s household but is compromised by the merchant’s wife and sent to prison. After nine years, Joseph interprets the dreams of the imprisoned butler and baker of the pharaoh. The lucky butler is released and tells the pharaoh of Joseph when the ruler has his own dreams that need interpretation. Joseph becomes the pharaoh’s top adviser, saving Egypt from famine. In her brightly colored, detailed panels Laff depicts her humans as anthropomorphic animals: the Canaanites, or Hebrews, are rabbits, the Ishmaelite traders are dogs, and the Egyptians are cats. They wear appropriate clothing, and the Egyptian details and backgrounds are particularly elaborate. Joseph’s well-known coat has rainbows, clouds, stars, and fur trimming; it looks an awful lot like a wizard’s cloak, but it is eye-catching, especially in a dark double-page spread, set in Joseph’s cell, when he is dreaming of the sun, moon, and stars.
A lively version of a biblical story of wisdom, wits, treachery, and repentance. (Graphic fiction/religion. 8-11)