Astonishingly beautiful but narratively obscure.

READ REVIEW

LOVE

THE LION

From the Love series

The companion to Love: The Fox and Love: The Tiger (both 2015) takes its setting on the African savanna, where a male lion travels on the fringes of a pride.

Sepia-toned panels establish back story: a lioness downs a Thomson’s gazelle and is chased away from her prey by a big male, who snarls to drive away a young cub. The story proper opens as that cub, now grown, slinks alone in the rain to come across a pride, spars with one of its males and appears to best it, but then leaves, revolving around but never part of the pride for the rest of the book. Bertolucci’s trademark lush paintings arranged in wordless, cinematic panels depict the lion’s travels across spectacular savanna scenery populated by zebras, wildebeests, giraffes, and other fauna. Violence is depicted unflinchingly but without sensationalism. A moment of humor occurs when some cubs play a game of “ball” with a rolled-up pangolin. In one striking sequence, an airplane crashes in a fiery wreck; the lions observe but move on. In contrast to its predecessors, this tale, though accurately reflecting lion society, is visually hard to parse. The protagonist lion is distinguishable from the others only by his darker mane, and it may take readers two or three trips through to understand his relationship to the pride. The story’s interpretation of the concept of “love” is murkier still.

Astonishingly beautiful but narratively obscure. (Graphic adventure. 10 & up)

Pub Date: July 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-942367-09-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Magnetic Press

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Using modern language, McDonald spins the well-known tale of the two young, unrequited lovers. Set against Nagar’s at-times...

ROMEO AND JULIET

From the Campfire Classics series

A bland, uninspired graphic adaptation of the Bard’s renowned love story.

Using modern language, McDonald spins the well-known tale of the two young, unrequited lovers. Set against Nagar’s at-times oddly psychedelic-tinged backgrounds of cool blues and purples, the mood is strange, and the overall ambiance of the story markedly absent. Appealing to what could only be a high-interest/low–reading level audience, McDonald falls short of the mark. He explains a scene in an open-air tavern with a footnote—“a place where people gather to drink”—but he declines to offer definitions for more difficult words, such as “dirges.” While the adaptation does follow the foundation of the play, the contemporary language offers nothing; cringeworthy lines include Benvolio saying to Romeo at the party where he first meets Juliet, “Let’s go. It’s best to leave now, while the party’s in full swing.” Nagar’s faces swirl between dishwater and grotesque, adding another layer of lost passion in a story that should boil with romantic intensity. Each page number is enclosed in a little red heart; while the object of this little nuance is obvious, it’s also unpleasantly saccharine. Notes after the story include such edifying tidbits about Taylor Swift and “ ‘Wow’ dialogs from the play” (which culls out the famous quotes).

Pub Date: May 10, 2011

ISBN: 978-93-80028-58-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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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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