A charmingly illustrated story with a strolling pace.

A girl and a witch go on a quest to reunite the witch with her missing powers.

Lelek is a witch who travels through the land cheating townsfolk to survive. Sanja witnesses her conflict with a disgruntled customer and the magical fight that ensues. Lelek, after seeing how expertly Sanja wields a sword, kidnaps Sanja so that she can learn from her how to fight. Sanja insists that Lelek stop cheating people. The girls decide to move from town to town challenging witches to battles and charging spectators for tickets as they seek to restore Lelek’s missing magic. Along the way, they make friends and enemies, fall in love, and learn to trust. As Sanja’s past catches up to them, the girls’ journey takes a turn for the worse, and Sanja must save Lelek’s life. Zabarsky’s (contributor: Tim'rous Beastie, 2017) illustrations give texture to the abundant, fantastical natural setting. A mix of bright pastels and dark panels set the tone for this eccentric story. Dream sequences and flashbacks provide in-depth insights into Sanja and Lelek, furthering their characterizations and their relationship to one another. The minimal text will occasionally force readers to pay close attention to the visual cues and the meandering plot. Lelek is brown skinned and Sanja is white and fat; secondary characters are diverse in skin tone.

A charmingly illustrated story with a strolling pace. (Graphic fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11999-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020


From the Wordplay Shakespeare series

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

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


Page Count: -

Publisher: The New Book Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013


From the Manga Classics series

Shakespeare’s fantastical dream in an appealing format that can be shared with a wider audience.

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. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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