DRACULA

From the Manga Classics series

Black-and-white illustrations share the storytelling load in this manga adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic tale.

A business trip becomes a source of gothic terror when a strange client named Count Dracula insists that solicitor Jonathan Harker remain in his castle in Transylvania indefinitely. Meanwhile, Harker’s fiancee, Mina, stays with her friend Lucy, whose sleepwalking problem puts her in the path of a creature who needs fresh blood. Lucy’s three suitors, with help from a trusted doctor, try to save Lucy, but when she dies and becomes one of the undead, they set her soul free in a gruesome ritual before joining forces with Harker to pursue Dracula. Mina is kept apart from the action because women are deemed unsuitable for such work, but this does not prevent her from becoming a target. The gender-based violence is more disturbing when depicted in images rather than the original text, and although the Count is described as pale, he is illustrated in dark hues and shadow, reinforcing tropes of lightness and darkness as good and evil, respectively. Journals, newspapers, letters, and telegrams are set in text boxes in varying fonts. The different characters’ perspectives feel somewhat disjointed, but the pace of the action will keep readers engaged to the end.

Flawed but thrilling. (cast of characters, how to read manga, editor’s note, guide to fonts, character design sketchbook) (Graphic novel. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-947808-06-5

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Manga Classics

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

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Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced...

MACBETH

From the Wordplay Shakespeare series

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. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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Keenly observed and gorgeously illustrated—a triumph.

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THIS ONE SUMMER

A summer of family drama, secrets and change in a small beach town.

Rose’s family has always vacationed in Awago Beach. It’s “a place where beer grows on trees and everyone can sleep in until eleven,” but this year’s getaway is proving less idyllic than those of the past. Rose’s parents argue constantly, and she is painfully aware of her mother’s unhappiness. Though her friendship with Windy, a younger girl, remains strong, Rose is increasingly curious about the town’s older teens, especially Dunc, a clerk at the general store. Jillian and Mariko Tamaki (Skim, 2008) skillfully portray the emotional ups and downs of a girl on the cusp of adolescence in this eloquent graphic novel. Rose waxes nostalgic for past summers even as she rejects some old pursuits as too childlike and mimics the older teens. The realistic dialogue and sensitive first-person narration convey Rose’s naïveté and confusion, and Windy’s comfort in her own skin contrasts with Rose’s uncertainty. Both the text and art highlight small but meaningful incidents as readers gradually learn the truth behind the tension in Rose’s family. Printed in dark blue ink, Jillian Tamaki’s illustrations feature strong, fluid lines, and the detailed backgrounds and stunning two-page spreads throughout the work establish the mood and a compelling sense of place.

Keenly observed and gorgeously illustrated—a triumph. (Graphic novel. 13 & up)

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59643-774-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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