Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
Genre: Adventure (Manga/Graphic novel format)
What did you like about the book? Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are a pair of mischievous boys, determined to find an adventure even if they have to make it up as they go along. Chan and Chan’s adaptation wonderfully depicts the boys’ lively, carefree movements and attitudes with a combination of Twain’s original text and dialog and new illustrations.
As with most manga, presented characters are incredibly expressive and help carry the emotions and motives of the story without the original descriptions. Key scenes are depicted with great humor and drama, portraying the original plot very well and with a dramatic flourish Tom Sawyer would be proud of. The Author’s Note offers a glimpse into the adaptation process including artistic choices and historical research which will encourage more than one reader to revisit scenes.
Anything you didn’t like about it? While the story and art work well together, the actual selection of text was a pitfall that will turn many readers away. This adaptation utilizes only Twain’s original words, causing some of the scenes to clash with repetitious information in both the illustrations and the dialog and even slowing the progression of the story at times.
To whom would you recommend this book? Those who enjoy the story of Tom Sawyer (whether they have read the original, watched the movie, or seen a Wishbone adaptation) will also enjoy this new version, especially with Tom’s over-the-top and manga-esque dramatics.
Who should buy this book? Teen library collections where the original Tom Sawyer is popular or required reading (public and school)
Where would you shelve it ? Young Adult Manga/Graphic Novels
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? You can pass on most of the Manga Classics unless you have a desire to revisit an old favorite. The title I most highly recommend of the series would be Stacy King’s adaptation of Les Misérables; you get most of the story condescend into clean panels without pages of weighty text that can likely be appreciated by fans and newcomers alike.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA
Date of review: May 26, 2018