Powerful storytelling based on documented experiences; despite being set in 2002, it’s as relevant as ever since the LRA is...

WAR BROTHERS

THE GRAPHIC NOVEL

A graphic format adds heart-rending images to McKay’s violent 2008 tale of children kidnapped and forced to become soldiers in Uganda.

The book opens with an awareness-raising letter to readers from teen protagonist Kitina Jacob and a brutal preview to set the stage. The tale then takes him and schoolmates Tony, Paul and Norman into a sudden nightmare when soldiers of the Lord’s Resistance Army burst into their dormitory. After weeks of forced marches, vicious beatings and atrocities designed to turn them into uncaring killers, the captives escape with help from mutilated campmate Hannah and others—profoundly scarred but, ultimately, resilient enough to take back their lives. Switching from white to black borders between his panels during the time of captivity to intensify the atmosphere of terror, Lafrance puts shadows or at least a little visual distance between viewers and violent acts. Wrenchingly, though, he ramps up the immediacy and emotional intensity by cutting again and again to the wide-eyed, tear-stained faces of children forced to do or to witness those acts.

Powerful storytelling based on documented experiences; despite being set in 2002, it’s as relevant as ever since the LRA is still all-too-active. (afterword) (Graphic historical fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-55451-489-2

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

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BEOWULF

Pairing art from an earlier, self-published edition to a newly adapted text, Hinds retells the old tale as a series of dark, bloody, chaotic clashes. Here Grendel is a glaring, black monster with huge teeth, corded muscles and a tendency to smash or bite off adversaries’ heads; the dragon is all sinuous viciousness; and Beowulf, mighty of thew, towers over his fellow Geats. The narrative, boxed off from the illustrations rather than incorporated into them, runs to lines like, “Bid my brave warriors O Wiglaf, to build a lofty cairn for me upon the sea-cliffs . . . ” and tends to disappear when the fighting starts. Because the panels are jumbled together on the page, the action is sometimes hard to follow, but this makes a strongly atmospheric alternative to the semi-abstract Beowulf, the Legend, by Stephen L. Antczak and James C. Bassett, illus by Andy Lee (2006), or the more conventionally formatted version of Michael Morpurgo, with pictures by Michael Foreman (2006). (Graphic fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-7636-3022-5

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2007

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A charming adaptation.

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES

From the Manga Classics series

A miscommunication leaves Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert responsible for a plucky, effusive orphan girl instead of the boy they’d expected to help maintain their farm.

Retold in traditional manga format, with right-to-left panel orientation and detailed black-and-white linework, this adaptation is delightfully faithful to the source text. Larger panels establish the idyllic country landscape while subtle text boxes identify the setting—Prince Edward Island, Canada, in the 1870s. The book follows redheaded Anne Shirley from her arrival at Green Gables at 11 to her achievement of a college scholarship. In the intervening years, Anne finds stability, friendship, personal growth, and ambition in Avonlea and in the strict but well-intentioned Cuthbert siblings’ household. The familiar story is enhanced by the exciting new format and lush illustrations. A variety of panel layouts provides visual freshness, maintaining reader interest. Backmatter includes the floor plan of the Green Gables house, as well as interior and exterior views, and notes about research on the actual location. A description of the process of adapting the novel to this visual format indicates the care that was taken to highlight particular elements of the story as well as to remain faithful to the smallest details. Readers who find the original text challenging will welcome this as an aid to comprehension and Anne’s existing fans will savor a fresh perspective on their beloved story. All characters appear to be White.

A charming adaptation. (Graphic fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947808-18-8

Page Count: 308

Publisher: Manga Classics

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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