Tag Archives: adaptations

The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis. January 1, 2018. Groundwood Books, 80 p. ISBN: 9781773061634.  Int Lvl: 5-8; Rdg Lvl: 4.3.

This beautiful graphic-novel adaptation of The Breadwinner animated film tells the story of eleven-year-old Parvana who must disguise herself as a boy to support her family during the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan.

Parvana lives with her family in one room of a bombed-out apartment building in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital city. Parvana’s father — a history teacher until his school was bombed and his health destroyed — works from a blanket on the ground in the marketplace, reading letters for people who cannot read or write. One day, he is arrested for having forbidden books, and the family is left without someone who can earn money or even shop for food.

As conditions for the family grow desperate, only one solution emerges. Forbidden to earn money as a girl, Parvana must transform herself into a boy, and become the breadwinner.

Readers will want to linger over this powerful graphic novel with its striking art and inspiring story.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: War, Violence, Misogyny

 

Movie/Book Trailer

Reviews

Kirkus Reviews (January 1, 2018)
A graphic-novel adaptation of Ellis’ heartwarming story of Parvana, a young girl in Afghanistan who cuts her hair and dresses as a boy to earn money for her family when her father is imprisoned by the Taliban.Adding a layer of remove from the original, this graphic novel is an adaptation of the upcoming film version, and it varies significantly from the original book. Notable deviations include the absence of helpful Mrs. Weera, who provides so much support to Parvana and her family in the original book, and two new details: a grudging former student who tattles on Parvana’s father and Parvana’s solo visit to rescue her imprisoned father. Much story is lost as a result of the numerous deviations, which also sadly promote Western views of Afghanistan, such as rampant corruption and violent men. Even as a stand-alone title for readers not familiar with the book, the storyline is bumpy, moving in fits and starts. At one point, Parvana’s mother decides to abandon Parvana and leave for the neighboring village but then changes her mind midway. Another disappointment is the book cover, which shows Parvana selling chai, something she does not do in either story (although her friend does). The only redeeming factor is the beautiful artwork, stills from the film, with its vivid use of colors to display context, such as use of red for war and black for the Taliban rule. A rather unsatisfying graphic novel, sure to disappoint fans of Ellis’ book. (Graphic historical fiction. 10-14)

About the Author

Deborah Ellis has achieved international acclaim with her courageous and dramatic books that give Western readers a glimpse into the plight of children in developing countries.

She has won the Governor General’s Award, Sweden’s Peter Pan Prize, the Ruth Schwartz Award, the University of California’s Middle East Book Award, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award and the Vicky Metcalf Award.

A long-time feminist and anti-war activist, she is best known for The Breadwinner Trilogy, which has been published around the world in seventeen languages, with more than a million dollars in royalties donated to Street Kids International and to Women for Women, an organization that supports health and education projects in Afghanistan. In 2006, Deb was named to the Order of Ontario.

Her website is www.deborahellis.com

Around the Web

The Breadwinner on Amazon

The Breadwinner on Goodreads

The Breadwinner Publisher Page

Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland

Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor, and Loki by Kevin Crossley-Holland. September 28, 2017. Candlewick Studio, 240 p. ISBN: 9780763695002.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.

Long-recognized master of Norse mythology Kevin Crossley-Holland pairs with award-winning artist Jeffrey Alan Love for an exceptional look at the Viking gods.

A collaboration by two talented creators provides the perfect means to delve into Norse mythology and pore over the enthralling exploits of all-powerful Odin; mighty Thor and his hammer, Mjolnir; and Loki, the infamous trickster. From the creation of the nine worlds to the final battle of Ragnarok, Carnegie Medal winner Kevin Crossley-Holland details the Viking gods as never before, while Jeffrey Alan Love’s lavish illustrations bring the mythic figures to life on the page. Readers will be caught up in the seesawing struggle for power between gods, dwarfs, and giants, punctuated by surprising love matches, thrilling journeys, and dazzling magic. With its well-researched, lyrical prose and its dramatic and powerful artwork, this wonderful gift edition makes the perfect book for both the staunchest fans of mythology and newcomers with no knowledge of Viking folklore.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Violence, Mild sexual themes

 

Reviews

Booklist starred (October 15, 2017 (Vol. 114, No. 4))
Grades 7-10. When he was a boy, Crossley-Holland writes, reading Norse myths made him yell and laugh and cry. Today, though the Carnegie Medal–winning author’s imaginative retellings of these ancient stories may still foster yelling and crying, there will be precious little laughing, as the myths are somber in tone and heroic in execution. They begin, logically, with the beginning of the world, and end, tragically, with the death of the gods, but with the hopeful hint of a new beginning. The principal players in these timeless tales are Odin, ruler of the gods; Thor, his mighty, hammer-wielding son; and the shape-shifting trickster god Loki. It is the clever Loki who is the most interesting of the three as he evolves from an antic, sometimes annoying presence to a jealous, vengeful being that brings about the death of Balder, the most beautiful and beloved of the gods. Crossley-Holland’s inspired text is straightforward and largely unadorned in a way that makes it timeless. Meanwhile, Love’s eye-popping expressionist illustrations, rendered in acrylics and ink, decorate almost every page, beautifully creating an often sinister atmosphere that expands the tone of the text. Together words and pictures work to memorable effect, doubtlessly inspiring their young readers to yell and cry. The myths have seldom been better served.

Kirkus Reviews (October 1, 2017)
Twenty tales of gods, giants, and dwarfs, of mighty feats and epic trickery.Veteran storysmith Crossley-Holland has presented versions of these extracts from the Prose Edda before, but here he recasts them into stately retellings that get extra measures of menace and gloom from the heavy shadows and big, indistinct figures that Love places on nearly every double-columned spread. Opening with tributes to the myths and to Snorri Sturluson, their medieval Icelandic recorder, the author moves on to the stories themselves. He includes such familiar episodes as the building of Asgard’s walls, Thor’s “wedding,” (which, what with its closing massacre, comes off as more grimdark than humorous, as played elsewhere), and the death of Balder within the frame story of the Swedish king Gylfi’s sojourns to Valhalla. There he hears from a mysterious, enthroned trio (some of the original source’s Christian inflections are left in for observant readers to notice) of Yggdrasil, the nine worlds, and, finally, the deaths of Odin and the rest. The major themes of deceit and violence play louder here than loyalty, justice, or some other positive value, and women (along with Bragi, the “pink cheeked and girlish” god of poetry) are relegated to minor roles. Still, the tales are colored as much by their depictions of courage in the face of certain ultimate doom as by the illustrations and are thus powerful in emotional resonance—not to mention chock-full of bold deeds, glittering treasures, and scary monsters. Lavishly illustrated and strongly atmospheric—as well suited for reading aloud as alone. (schematic of the nine worlds, cast of characters) (Myths. 11-13)

About the Author

Kevin Crossley-Holland is a well-known poet and prize-winning author for children. He has translated Beowulf from the Anglo-Saxon, and his retellings of traditional tales include The Penguin Book of Norse Myths and British Folk Tales (reissued as The Magic Lands). His collaborations with composers include two operas with Nicola Lefanu (“The Green Children” and “The Wildman”) and one with Rupert Bawden, “The Sailor’s Tale”; song cycles with Sir Arthur Bliss and William Mathias; and a carol with Stephen Paulus for King’s College, Cambridge. His play, The Wuffings, (co-authored with Ivan Cutting) was produced by Eastern Angles in 1997.

He often lectures abroad on behalf of the British Council, regularly leads sessions for teachers and librarians, and visits primary and secondary schools. He offers poetry and prose workshops and talks on the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, King Arthur, heroines and heroes, and myth, legend and folk-tale.

After seven years teaching in Minnesota, where he held an Endowed Chair in the Humanities, Kevin Crossley-Holland returned to the north Norfolk coast in East Anglia, where he now lives. His website is www.kevincrossley-holland.com.

Teacher Resources

Norse Mythology Lesson Plans

Around the Web

Norse Myths on Amazon

Norse Myths on Goodreads

Norse Myths on JLG

Norse Myths Publisher Page

Poe: Stories and Poems by Gareth Hinds

Poe: Stories and Poems by Gareth Hinds. August 1, 2017. Candlewick Press, 120 p. ISBN: 9780763681128.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 960.

In a thrilling adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s best-known works, acclaimed artist-adapter Gareth Hinds translates Poe’s dark genius into graphic-novel format.

It is true that I am nervous. But why will you say that I am mad?

In “The Cask of Amontillado,” a man exacts revenge on a disloyal friend at carnival, luring him into catacombs below the city. In “The Masque of the Red Death,” a prince shielding himself from plague hosts a doomed party inside his abbey stronghold. A prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition, faced with a swinging blade and swarming rats, can’t see his tormentors in “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and in “The Tell-Tale Heart,” a milky eye and a deafening heartbeat reveal the effects of conscience and creeping madness. Alongside these tales are visual interpretations of three poems — “The Raven,” “The Bells,” and Poe’s poignant elegy to lost love, “Annabel Lee.” The seven concise graphic narratives, keyed to thematic icons, amplify and honor the timeless legacy of a master of gothic horror.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild language, Violence, Alcohol, Smoking, Bloody images

 

Book Trailer

Reviews

Booklist (July 2017 (Vol. 113, No. 21))
Grades 8-11. Veteran illustrator Hinds breathes vivid life into seven of Edgar Allan Poe’s most well-known stories and poems in his latest adaptation. Faithfully preserving the gothic tone of the original texts, from the macabre endpapers filled with symbols of death to the twisted anguished faces found throughout its pages, the author never shies away from the darkness found there, instead distilling Poe’s fascination with madness, death, and terror into single haunting images: a sliver of lamplight shines on a milky blue eye in “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and a shadowy black raven haunts a solitary figure reminiscent of Poe in its namesake poem. Color is used to full effect in each story; the garish colors of an ill-fated party foreshadow impending doom, while the saturated red surrounding a man about to die only serves to heighten the emotional intensity. Title pages include a key to the main themes and year of publication, while an author’s note provides an overview of Poe’s life and insight into each story and poem. A welcome addition for fans of graphic horror.

Horn Book Magazine (November/December, 2017)
Graphic novelist Hinds (The Odyssey, rev. 11/10; Macbeth, rev. 3/15) continues his tour through the classics as he takes on the work of Edgar Allan Poe, adapting three poems (“Annabel Lee,” “The Bells,” and “The Raven”) and four stories (“The Masque of the Red Death,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”). A “Poe Checklist” at the beginning enumerates a dozen common themes and tropes (e.g., “creepy animals,” “premature burial”), and the title page for each entry lists those that are pertinent. As always, Hinds’s adaptations lean heavily on the original language of the text with an eye toward accessibility for the modern reader and an understanding that the illustrations will carry a good portion of the narrative. Hinds’s varied illustrations are a good match for Poe’s atmospheric blend of horror and mystery. The pictures are often dark and shadowy, but color is used judiciously throughout to great effect; “The Masque of the Red Death” has abundant flourishes of red, for example, while “The Raven” is in black and white. Striking imagery, too, catches the eye and the imagination. The final spread of “The Bells” looks up into a bright full moon to see not just the church bell but also the ghouls looking like veritable gargoyles come to life. An appended author’s note gives general background on Poe and additional insight into each story or poem. jonathan hunt

About the Author

Gareth Hinds is the acclaimed creator of the graphic novels Macbeth, The Odyssey, Beowulf, Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, and King Lear. Gareth Hinds lives near Washington, D.C.

Her website is www.garethhinds.com

Around the Web

Poe: Stories and Poems on Amazon

Poe: Stories and Poems on Goodreads

Poe: Stories and Poems on JLG

Poe: Stories and Poems Publisher Page

Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M.T. Anderson

Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M.T. Anderson. March 14, 2017. Candlewick Press, 134 p. ISBN: 9780763659394.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.

Eager for glory and heedless of others, Sir Yvain sets out from King Arthur’s court and defeats a local lord in battle, unknowingly intertwining his future with the lives of two compelling women: Lady Laudine, the beautiful widow of the fallen lord, and her sly maid Lunette. In a stunning visual interpretation of a 12th century epic poem by Chrétien de Troyes, readers are — at first glance — transported into a classic Arthurian romance complete with errant knights, plundering giants, and fire-breathing dragons. A closer look, however, reveals a world rich with unspoken emotion. Striking, evocative art by Andrea Offermann sheds light upon the inner lives of medieval women and the consequences Yvain’s oblivious actions have upon Laudine and Lunette. Renowned author M. T. Anderson embraces a new form with a sophisticated graphic novel that challenges Yvain’s role as hero, delves into the honesty and anguish of love, and asks just how fundamentally the true self can really change.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Violence

 

Author & Illustrator Interviews

 

Reviews

Booklist (December 15, 2016 (Vol. 113, No. 8))
Grades 8-11. This adaptation of Chrétien de Troyes’ medieval poem beautifully ties together period art and imagery with stylish visual storytelling. When Yvain, one of Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table, falls in love with Laudine, the wife of the man he killed in a duel, he’s ecstatic when Laudine is convinced to marry him, despite the hatred she bears for her husband’s killer. But Yvain fails to keep a promise, she spurns him, and he spends his tormented days contritely fighting to regain his honor and win her back. Anderson makes it clear, however, that all is not rosy: Laudine is politically savvy, and her reconciliation has nothing to do with love, despite her guileless husband’s joy at the end. Offermann’s swirling, evocative artwork, in muted tones and stylized figures reminiscent of tapestries, does an excellent job of depicting both action-heavy battle scenes and expressive moments full of emotional heft. Teens who might balk at reading an epic poem will likely be surprised and delighted by Anderson and Offermann’s thoughtful, entertaining, and provocative presentation of this centuries-old story.

Horn Book Magazine (March/April, 2017)
The storyline of this graphic novel retelling of a twelfth-century epic poem is straightforward enough: after slaying Sir Esclados, Sir Yvain, a young knight-errant from King Arthur’s court, falls madly in love with and marries the lady Laudine, Esclados’s widow. Shortly after their marriage, Yvain fails to keep a promise, and Laudine denounces him. Yvain determines to become worthy of her forgiveness by defending others, not for glory, but out of compassion. The story ends with an overjoyed Yvain reuniting with Laudine: a classic closure where true love triumphs. And yet, Anderson and Offermann offer something very different from a traditional chivalric tale here, putting as much emphasis on Laudine’s sorrow as on Yvain’s adventures. This retelling is a tempestuous counter-story that challenges perceived notions of love by eliciting darker emotions of doubt, confusion, and even rage in examining women’s roles in relationships and society. The writer and artist both effectively capture Laudine’s indignation, resignation, and ultimate fate. Readers cannot help but empathize upon observing her constant sorrowful expressions juxtaposed with those of Yvain’s jubilation—both skillfully depicted by Offermann. Anderson’s spare, matter-of-fact narration, set against Offerman’s muted earth tones, detailed small panels, sweeping spreads, and swirling, turbulent motifs, further ensures that readers’ hearts are as tormented as Laudine’s. Bagieu, (born 22 January 1982 Paris), is a French illustrator and comic designer. She became known for her comic blog My quite fascinating life.

About the Author

Matthew Tobin Anderson (M. T. Anderson), (1968- ) is an author, primarily of picture books for children and novels for young adults. Anderson lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

His website is www.mt-anderson.com.

 

Around the Web

Yvain: The Knight of the Lion on Amazon

Yvain: The Knight of the Lion on Goodreads

Yvain: The Knight of the Lion on JLG

Yvain: The Knight of the Lion Publisher Page

Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Lottery’ by Miles Hyman

Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”: The Authorized Graphic Adaptation by Miles Hyman. October 25, 2016. Hill and Wang, 160 p. ISBN: 9780809066490.  Int Lvl: AD; Rdg Lvl: AD; Lexile: 560.

The classic short story–now in full color

Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” continues to thrill and unsettle readers nearly seven decades after it was first published. By turns puzzling and harrowing, “The Lottery” raises troubling questions about conformity, tradition, and the ritualized violence that may haunt even the most bucolic, peaceful village.

This graphic adaptation by Jackson’s grandson Miles Hyman allows readers to experience “The Lottery” as never before, or to discover it anew. He has crafted an eerie vision of the hamlet where the tale unfolds and the unforgettable ritual its inhabitants set into motion. Hyman’s full-color, meticulously detailed panels create a noirish atmosphere that adds a new dimension of dread to the original story.

Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”: The Authorized Graphic Adaptation stands as a tribute to Jackson, and reenvisions her iconic story as a striking visual narrative.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Violence; depiction of nudity

 

Reviews

Booklist (October 15, 2016 (Vol. 113, No. 4))
Grades 9-12. Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” gets graphic treatment by the author’s grandson in this adaptation of her most well-known work. Using an effective combination of striking visual images and pithy snippets of dialogue, the story, about an annual ritual of sacrifice in a small town and the dangers of blindly following tradition, is distilled to its brutal core. The story is well served by the bold illustrations—intensely saturated color work seems at first incongruous with iconic images that hearken back to the mid-twentieth century, but it lends intensity to the panels. Hyman has a keen eye for composition and creates strong visual interest with unusual angles, using a variety of panel sizes and perspectives to pull the reader in as the scenes unfold from different viewpoints. Lonesome street scenes and empty fields only heighten the sense of isolation and unease delivered by the text, and deliberate visual pacing during a pivotal scene focuses all the reader’s attention on the drama swiftly unfolding. One of the strongest graphic adaptations of a classic work to come along in some time.

Kirkus Reviews starred (August 1, 2016)
A stunning graphic adaptation of a chilling classic. Hyman, grandson of Shirley Jackson, original author of “The Lottery,” offers his interpretation of her iconic story. In it, townspeople gather to partake in a disturbing tradition—the origins of and reasons for which we are not told. There is mention of bigger towns, where the lottery takes two days, and talk of other, radical towns where the lottery has been eliminated altogether. To follow their lead would mean regressing to living in caves and “eating stewed chickweed and acorns.” Each head of family must draw from an heirloom box a slip of paper. He who draws the slip with the black, circular mark is chosen; his family must draw again. The member of his family who draws the marked slip will be stoned, presumably to death, by the rest of the town, including the remaining family members. Hyman’s illustrations are powerful: rich and evocative graphic realism, softly colored, marrying Rockwell-ian and American Gothic style. The tone, at first, is both ominous and mundane. As the townspeople gather in the June sun, they banter with familiar ease—“Wouldn’t have me leave m’dishes in the sink, now, would you, Joe?”—but beneath the banal, the mood is decidedly baleful. When the black spot is drawn, the mood, along with the color scheme, shifts dramatically: both are immediately drained of the bucolic and sonorous. The rest of the story is starkly depicted in black, white, and harvest orange. The most unnerving illustration depicts a small boy taking up a fistful of child-sized rocks to aim at his pleading mother.A haunting story of humanity’s herd mentality, brilliantly rendered.

About the Author

A Vermont native, artist and author Miles Hyman currently lives in Paris. His prize-winning adaptation, with screenwriters Matz and David Fincher, of James Ellroy’s novel “The Black Dahlia” appeared to rave reviews in 2013. Upcoming publications include his authorized graphic adaptation of his grandmother Shirley Jackson’s thrilling masterpiece, “The Lottery” (Hill and Wang, October 2016).

Her website is www.mileshyman.com.

Teacher Resources

The Lottery Lesson Plans

Around the Web

Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” on Amazon

Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” on Goodreads

Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” on JLG

Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” Publisher Page