Awesome.

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LAST PICK

From the Last Pick series , Vol. 1

Aliens invade, abducting almost everyone.

In this high-octane graphic novel series opener, creepy extraterrestrials have overrun Earth, deploying gargantuan robot "scoopers," collecting people ages 16 to 65. However, in addition to leaving children and the elderly, the aliens have also left behind anyone they deem useless, like the “disabled.” Sixteen-year-old Sam and her twin brother, Wyatt, are in hiding, trying to rebuild the aliens' abandoned technological devices in order to ascertain where their parents might be located. With the help of a rough-and-tumble band of senior citizens, the twins make their way through an eerily analogous—albeit alien-run—landscape. Though never explicitly stated, Wyatt is seemingly on the spectrum. While sister Sam has always served as his protector, in a dramatic turn of events at one point in the story, it is up to Wyatt to become the hero. Cartoonist and teacher Walz (A Story for Desmond, 2015, etc.) tells his reader, "you might be surprised to find that whatever the world sees as 'different' is exactly what the world needs more of." Here he has created a masterful sci-fi tale with relatable characters, skillful worldbuilding, and cinematically designed illustrations that convey his message. Colorist Proctor has employed a muted earth-toned palette, using color to help easily distinguish flashbacks from present action. Sam and Wyatt are both white and fair-haired. Secondary characters are widely diverse in physical ability, age, and skin color.

Awesome. (author’s note) (Graphic science fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-891-2

Page Count: 226

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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THE ODYSSEY

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

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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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