Despite occasional stumbles, a worthwhile reminder for readers who will recognize his name but may be a little hazy on what...

READ REVIEW

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.

LET FREEDOM RING

From the Graphic Novel Heroes series

An inspirational biography in graphic format—highlighting both King’s passion for his cause and his devotion to Gandhi’s nonviolent methods.

The authors craft original dialogue that reads like policy statements and have Dr. King even as a child spouting lines like “We are being treated as inferior people solely because of the color of our skin. How unfair.” Nevertheless, they deliver a clear, cogent account of their subject’s upbringing, the vicious racial (and, later, social and economic) issues that sparked his involvement in the civil rights movement and the ensuing course of his short but enduringly influential career. Not all of the dialogue balloons and narrative boxes are properly placed, but Kumar draws facial features accurately. With a mix of overlaid and separated panels, he creates a strong sense of drama whether he’s depicting Dr. King firing up a crowd or Rosa Parks’ quiet composure. Numerous passages (not always accurately quoted: “the arm [sic] of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”) from Dr. King’s speeches and writings add oratorical authority to the account, and a folding timeline at the end provides a broad historical overview of African-American history up to Barack Obama’s first presidential election.

Despite occasional stumbles, a worthwhile reminder for readers who will recognize his name but may be a little hazy on what he stood for. (Graphic biography. 11-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-93-80028-69-9

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2012

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Reasonably accurate—but the historical territory is already thoroughly surveyed elsewhere, and the unusual format doesn’t...

ABRAHAM LINCOLN

BIRTH OF A NEW FREEDOM

From the Graphic Novel Heroes series

Lincoln’s life gets a graphic treatment, but the prose reads like a school report, and even the battle scenes look staged.

The book takes the form of an autobiographical lecture to his son Tad that highlights his intense opposition to slavery. Lincoln carries his story from early days (“On February 12, 1809, in Hardin County in Kentucky, I was born in a small, one-room log cabin”) to his departure for Ford’s Theatre. At this point, an omniscient narrator takes over to cover the assassination and the later ratification of the 13th Amendment. Though Helfand slips in short flights of eloquence from Lincoln’s oratory, his own writing runs to lines like “Nor could he accept that the future of his nation should be resigned to slavery and injustice” and “This new guy, Abraham, is going down.” The illustrator tries to add pace and energy by slanting and overlaying his squared-off panels and adding discreetly sized sound effects (slave catchers’ dogs: “Woof! Woof!”). Despite this, neither the occasional cleanly drawn battlefields nor the many scenes of men in suits exchanging political views are the stuff of compelling visuals.

Reasonably accurate—but the historical territory is already thoroughly surveyed elsewhere, and the unusual format doesn’t compensate for the routine content. (appendix) (Graphic nonfiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-93-80741-21-5

Page Count: 108

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2012

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A vivid double character portrait, enhanced by equally sharp glimpses of climbing techniques, strategies and hazards....

CONQUERING EVEREST

THE LIVES OF EDMUND HILLARY AND TENZING NORGAY

The exploits of two young men mad for climbing mountains are retold in graphic panels.

Trading off narrator duties, Norgay and Hillary trace their childhoods and early lives. The Sherpa was a driven youth who earned a reputation for solid reliability working for European expeditions tackling various Himalayan mountains, while the Kiwi was the restless son of a beekeeper, who satisfied his yen for heights and adventure by making connections with renowned climbers. A third-person voice takes over for their ultimate meeting on Everest’s slopes and the heroic trek to the summit. Tayal captures their likenesses in flurries of small but visually varied cartoon scenes, often placing figures in front of reworked photos of forbidding ice fields and peaks. Helfand fills the dialogue-heavy narrative with specific biographical details and exciting accounts of some of the great triumphs and tragedies of Himalayan mountaineering. He rounds out the lives of his two subjects with highlights of their later careers and closes with quick looks at modern teenagers who have climbed Everest.

A vivid double character portrait, enhanced by equally sharp glimpses of climbing techniques, strategies and hazards. (Graphic nonfiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2011

ISBN: 978-93-80741-24-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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