A complex adoption story lacking context for younger readers.

THE ADOPTION

After an earthquake devastates Arequipa, Peru, the van Oosterbeek family gathers at the airport to welcome to France Qinaya, an Indigenous Aymaran girl whom Alain van Oosterbeek and his wife, Lynette, have adopted.

At first, Gabriel, Alain’s father, has a hard time adjusting to becoming a grandfather. Gradually, though, he grows to love Qinaya and to feel happy for the couple, who struggled with infertility for years. But just as Qinaya seems to be adjusting, Alain is arrested for kidnapping, ending up serving time for his crime. When Gabriel—along with the rest of the family—discovers that the adoption was not legitimate, he doesn’t know if he can find a way to forgive Alain or to live without his granddaughter, who is reunited with her family in Peru. This story, which is translated from French and features beautifully rendered and expressive illustrations in soft tones, is mostly told from Gabriel’s perspective, although small portions are told from Alain’s. While some of Qinaya’s grief and anger are shown, the book focuses on the interpersonal rather than offering critical analysis of the broader power dynamics of transnational adoption by a White family. With racist and sexist remarks not being given context or analysis—such as a conversation between Gabriel and his older gentleman friends, one of whom recommends seeing “a hooker” to have one’s sexual needs met—the content skews toward older readers.

A complex adoption story lacking context for younger readers. (Graphic fiction. 17-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-942367-83-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Magnetic Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Using modern language, McDonald spins the well-known tale of the two young, unrequited lovers. Set against Nagar’s at-times...

ROMEO AND JULIET

From the Campfire Classics series

A bland, uninspired graphic adaptation of the Bard’s renowned love story.

Using modern language, McDonald spins the well-known tale of the two young, unrequited lovers. Set against Nagar’s at-times oddly psychedelic-tinged backgrounds of cool blues and purples, the mood is strange, and the overall ambiance of the story markedly absent. Appealing to what could only be a high-interest/low–reading level audience, McDonald falls short of the mark. He explains a scene in an open-air tavern with a footnote—“a place where people gather to drink”—but he declines to offer definitions for more difficult words, such as “dirges.” While the adaptation does follow the foundation of the play, the contemporary language offers nothing; cringeworthy lines include Benvolio saying to Romeo at the party where he first meets Juliet, “Let’s go. It’s best to leave now, while the party’s in full swing.” Nagar’s faces swirl between dishwater and grotesque, adding another layer of lost passion in a story that should boil with romantic intensity. Each page number is enclosed in a little red heart; while the object of this little nuance is obvious, it’s also unpleasantly saccharine. Notes after the story include such edifying tidbits about Taylor Swift and “ ‘Wow’ dialogs from the play” (which culls out the famous quotes).

Pub Date: May 10, 2011

ISBN: 978-93-80028-58-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more