I have a vivid childhood memory of reading the Classics Illustrated version of The Moonstone while waiting for another torture session in the orthodontist chair. (In the old days, boys and girls, they used to HAMMER the bands on to your teeth--I was lucky to get braces, I should not complain, I digress.) I enjoyed the story and the artwork in the comic and the memory of those illustrations stayed with me when I read the "real" Moonstone, years later.
Puffin Books has launched a new series of graphic novels, Puffin Graphics, which retell works of classic literature. I like these books. The covers are colorful and very well done. The books echo manga editions in size and format. The interior artwork in these books is in b&w and gray tones.
There is a "making of the book" section at the end of each book. The artist's method of working with preliminary sketches, layouts, and inking are demonstrated. This section might work well for the "drawing book" kids. Without a doubt "how to draw" books are the most highly circulated books in any school library (more than snake books even) and they are often the refuge of non-readers. These students are usually very drawn to graphic novels.
The stories themselves are adaptations but they have maintained the sense of the original. (I have not seen their edition of Macbeth yet.)
Librarians who are skittish about the whole graphic novel thing might find these editions collection-worthy.
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, adapted by Gary Reed has maintained the original plot. It always surprises kids to know that Frankenstein was the doctor, NOT the monster.
Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, adapted by Tim Hamilton
L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz, adapted by Michael Cavallaro
Illustations are very manga.
Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage, adapted by Wayne Vansant
I am very anxious to get feedback on these books from kids.
The REAL proof will be, can you pass the AR test by reading these books?
Oh I hope so.