KING SHAKA

ZULU LEGEND

From the African Graphic Novel Series series , Vol. 2

Authentically enlightening and entertaining.

Following on Shaka Rising (2018), this volume further explores the legend of King Shaka, founder of the Zulu nation.

Much research has been done by South African Molver to trace the particulars of Shaka’s life from his birth in the 1780s until his death in 1828. Zulu culture was an oral one, passing down history through the telling of stories, which led to multiple versions of the truth even as the “ignorance or bias” of European written records was understood to be historical fact. Recognizing its own narrative as simply one telling of the story, this book focuses on the last decade of his reign, when external and internal threats challenged his prominence. There’s the arrival of conspiring European settlers and even a bit of nefarious plotting among the siblings who envy Shaka’s throne. Woven throughout are key terms from isiZulu, along with symbolism inherent to Zulu supernatural beliefs, giving readers a deeply contextual immersion in the cultural foundations of the Zulu people who today represent almost a quarter of South Africa’s population. The illustrations show stern and stalwart faces and display the brutal, inflamed action of war. The overwhelming global success of Marvel’s Black Panther is echoed in the final image, which, in opposition to the story’s historical specificity, feels generic and tame.

Authentically enlightening and entertaining. (historical notes, timeline, cultural and linguistic notes, discussion questions, glossary, pronunciation guide) (Graphic historical fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946498-93-9

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Story Press Africa

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

MACBETH

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

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: The New Book Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

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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