Kirkus Reviews QR Code
ROBINSON CRUSOE by Daniel Defoe

ROBINSON CRUSOE

From the Graphic Classics series

By Daniel Defoe (Author) , Penko Gelev (Illustrator) , Ian Graham (Reteller)

Age Range: 11 - 14

Pub Date: June 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7641-4451-6
Publisher: Barron’s

A labored retelling of the classic survival tale in graphic format, heavily glossed and capped with multiple value-added mini-essays.

Along with capturing neither the original’s melodrama nor the stranded Crusoe’s MacGyver-esque ingenuity in making do, Graham’s version quickly waxes tedious thanks to forced inclusion of minor details and paraphrased rather than directly quoted dialogue in an artificially antiquated style (“You Friday. Me Master”). Frequent superscript numbers lead to often-superfluous footnotes: “Crusoe, a European, assumes that he is superior to other races. This attitude was usual at the time when the story was written.” Shoehorned into monotonous rows of small panels, the art battles for real estate with both dialogue balloons and boxed present-tense descriptions of what’s going on (the pictures themselves being rarely self-explanatory). Seven pages of closing matter cover topics from Defoe’s checkered career to stage and film versions of his masterpiece—and even feature an index for the convenience of assignment-driven readers.

At best, a poor substitute for Cliffs Notes and like slacker fare. (Graphic novel. 11-14)