Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel adapted by Mariah Marsden

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Title: Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel adapted by Mariah Marsden

Premise:

Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert (siblings) want to adopt a boy who can help them with work on their farm, but through a mistake they end up with a girl instead.  Anne Shirley is nothing like what they expected, but she wins their hearts and they decide to keep her.  This is the story of Anne’s childhood and its defining moments.

My thoughts:

I’ve been a fan of Anne Shirley since I was a kid, so this graphic novel really had me excited!  I was also kind of afraid, too.  What if it was done poorly?  What if they didn’t capture Anne’s spirit and humor?  What if they butchered one of my all-time favorite stories???

I’ll lay to rest those insecurities right now and tell you that I absolutely loved this book!  The format is, of course, different from the original, but it still manages to capture the magic of the story.  The graphic novel focuses on simplified and essential dialogue, pivotal events, and the emotions/reactions/feelings of the characters.  A lot of detail was necessarily cut out, but the essence of the story came through loud and clear.  I’ll confess that it made me cry a couple of times.  The story ends on a hopeful note, with Anne and Gilbert finally reconciling and the hint of love in the air.  *sigh*

The artwork is really nice.  There are plenty of charming and lovely vignettes, and a wonderful color palette.

I recommend Anne of Green Gables to fans of the original book, and to elementary-age kids as a good introduction to the story.

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

mysterious-benedict-society

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I just finished The Mysterious Benedict Society.  Thanks for the recommendation, smile rac!

Premise:

A group of children who are without families are tasked with saving the world from the nefarious Mr. Curtain.  Does this group of kids have what it takes to foil the evil plans of a super-smart adult with seemingly unlimited resources?  Follow them to the Institute where they will have to work together–using their cunning, skill and physical prowess to prevent Mr. Curtain’s domination of the entire world!

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this story, though it’s a bit hard to categorize.  It reminds me of Harry Potter a little bit–with the kids going off to a special school.  Though it’s classified as science fiction, I’d say that element doesn’t stand out very much.  Sure, there’s Mr. Curtain’s invention which definitely falls into the science fiction category, but the remainder of the book seems as though it could happen in a very normal world.

The children whom the story revolves around are each interesting and unique in their own way.  And I enjoyed following them on their adventures and seeing how their group grew closer over time.  However, there seemed to be something missing from their characters.  Maybe it was that they were missing the playfulness and humor that you normally see in children.  There also wasn’t a lot of vulnerability.  They were a little too much like adults for my taste.  The supporting characters were interesting too, but their development seemed a bit stunted, as well.

The story line itself was interesting and inventive.  I would like to have learned more about Mr. Curtain’s plan–specifically why he was going to such great lengths to gain control.  If his back story had been more developed, it would have helped me understand his motivation.  As it was, it came across as Mr. Curtain is evil because he’s evil.  I see that there are additional books in this series, so maybe they will expand on the characters and back story at a more satisfying level.

I recommend The Mysterious Benedict Society to elementary-age kids and preteens.  It would also be a fun read-aloud for families.  I think it’s possibly a bit juvenile to appeal to high schoolers.

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori