Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 2
Genre: Historical Fiction (Graphic Novel format)
What did you like about the book? The Taj Mahal of India is an architectural masterpiece and a love story built from stone and grief that has captured the world’s attention with millions visiting it each year. Hoskin and Khan reveal this history with bright colors accompanying a mix of dialog and descriptive prose, artfully beginning and ending with words from the poet Rabindranath Tagore as he describes the structure as “a teardrop on the cheek of time.”
Khan in particular should be applauded for the accurate depictions of clothing and architecture as this speaks to the research put into the illustrations and makes for a more interesting visual experience.
Anything you didn’t like about it? The creators took what could have been a beautiful and touching story and boiled it down into dry words and emotionless panels. Not only does this read like an actual textbook, with side-box descriptions nearly outweighing the stilted dialog, but there is a lack of diversity and expression among the illustrations. Characters will often keep the same facial expressions throughout an entire scene and each panel feels still or stopped as the art does not make use of motion or lines to depict movement.
In addition, this title is poorly edited. Most prominent is the use of the the same panel twice on a single page where it was clearly intended to be two different visuals.
To whom would you recommend this book? Those intensely curious about the Taj Mahal.
Who should buy this book? n/a – I would not recommend this for purchase without more editing first. Even then, it is likely to have a niche audience due to the way it is written.
Where would you shelve it ? Graphic Novel (adult)
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA
Date of review: July 20, 2019