Best for readers new to the series, who won’t be distracted by comparisons with the original.

THE GOLDEN COMPASS

THE GRAPHIC NOVEL, VOLUME 1

Lyra Belaqua begins her journey north again in this graphic-novel adaptation of Philip Pullman’s classic fantasy.

Twenty years after the publication of The Golden Compass, Melchior-Durand and Oubrerie reimagine the dark fantasy series through the graphic format. This installment adapts the first third of the original novel—in which Lyra leaves her home at Jordan College, finds refuge with the gyptians, and learns the truth about her parentage—leaving the rest of the tale for future volumes. The script is well-paced and deftly condenses the original text to the demands of graphic storytelling. However, the artwork is often disappointing. While the illustrations do a fine job of establishing a sense of time and place, the figures are stiff and don’t do justice to the story’s many charismatic personalities. For instance, the graphic novel’s Mrs. Coulter lacks the seductive magnetism that makes her so dangerously alluring when she first appears in the original novel. Purists may also be annoyed by details that aren’t faithful to the novel. The original text repeatedly describes Lyra as blonde, but she is a brunette here. It’s a minor complaint, but it’s hard to see why a change was necessary at all.

Best for readers new to the series, who won’t be distracted by comparisons with the original. (Graphic fantasy. 11 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-52371-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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THE LIGHTNING THIEF

From the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series , Vol. 1

Edgar Award–winning Riordan leaves the adult world of mystery to begin a fantasy series for younger readers. Twelve-year-old Percy (full name, Perseus) Jackson has attended six schools in six years. Officially diagnosed with ADHD, his lack of self-control gets him in trouble again and again. What if it isn’t his fault? What if all the outrageous incidents that get him kicked out of school are the result of his being a “half-blood,” the product of a relationship between a human and a Greek god? Could it be true that his math teacher Mrs. Dodds transformed into a shriveled hag with bat wings, a Fury, and was trying to kill him? Did he really vanquish her with a pen that turned into a sword? One need not be an expert in Greek mythology to enjoy Percy’s journey to retrieve Zeus’s master bolt from the Underworld, but those who are familiar with the deities and demi-gods will have many an ah-ha moment. Along the way, Percy and his cohort run into Medusa, Cerberus and Pan, among others. The sardonic tone of the narrator’s voice lends a refreshing air of realism to this riotously paced quest tale of heroism that questions the realities of our world, family, friendship and loyalty. (Fantasy. 12-15)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7868-5629-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

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A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.

THE MECHANICAL MIND OF JOHN COGGIN

The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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