Title: Manga Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Illustrator: Kate Brown
Publisher: Amulet Books 2008
Genre: Graphic Novel; Shakespeare
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Reading Challenges: Graphic Novels; Support Your Local Library
The latest in the breakout series Manga Shakespeare, introducing teens to a new kind of Bard.
In one of Shakespeare’s funniest, most enduring stories, meddling fairies create unexpected love triangles among a group of teenagers. Hermia is in love with Lysander. Demetrius is in love with Hermia. Helena is in love with Demetrius. Add to the mix Puck, a fairy with a powerful love potion, and chaos is sure to follow. Now everyone’s in love with Helena, Hermia is hopping mad, and the fairy queen Titania is in love with a man with a donkey’s head! Using the style and visual language of manga, Kate Brown transforms Shakespeare’s world into something new and vibrant. It’s the perfect introduction to Shakespeare’s work for reluctant readers and manga fans alike.
I picked up this version of Shakespeare’s play while browsing the Young Adult Graphic Novel shelf at the library. I have some mixed feelings about this one….
Kate Brown does a great job illustrating the characters and actions throughout the play. Each character is introduced in the first few pages. The costumes never change, keeping the character easily recognizable. The original text is included, not “updating” the language. Thankfully Brown understood that “updating” is just not necessary. We can all read the original text just fine.
Do we need this? I am all for drawing new readers to Shakespeare. But sometimes I wonder about these adaptations and graphic novelizations. Do we really need to jazz it up one of the greatest authors of all time? I think not. For my slight hesitations, I am dropping my rating down to 4 stars.