Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Historical Fiction (Graphic Novel)
What did you like about the book? Manga Classics has adapted over a dozen books and this latest title, Anne of Green Gables, is yet another resounding success. Anne is a young orphan who arrives on Prince Edward Island in a flurry of imagination and dreams, ready to start her new life with the Cuthberts. But everyone gets quite a surprise! The Cuthberts wanted to adopt a boy to work on their farm, not a girl as Anne most surely is. The three begin to settle into this unexpected life with a little understanding, some growing pains, and, eventually, many smiles.
The author carefully selected scenes, using the original dialog, that focus on the characters’ relationship with one another, allowing the manga to have a steady purpose throughout while giving the main players clear definition that will endear them to the reader. The illustrator’s accompanying work is primarily realistic with some stylings of manga to more easily, and more comically, convey emotions as well as to create recognizable characters. The panel layout varies as the story speeds up or slows down, keeping readers engaged with the text and illustrations in new ways on each page. The combination of all this work results in a book that is easy to read and interesting for a variety of ages. The back matter further demonstrates just how well the author and illustrator worked as a team, showing readers some diagrams and notes between the two to ensure the words, look, and tone all matched.
Even the cover makes a quaint statement, drawing in readers who already know Anne and see her depicted so sweetly, and still catching the eye of new readers with bright colors and a vibrant smile from the titular character.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No! Of the Manga Classics series so far, Anne of Green Gables will surely be a fan favorite.
To whom would you recommend this book? This title will have a wide appeal! Elementary readers (grades 4+) will be able to easily understand the story while older readers (high school up to adults) will still love the adventure and be able to see the details and nuances present throughout.
Who should buy this book? A first purchase if your library stocks manga or graphic novel retellings.
Where would you shelve it ? YA or J Graphic Novels
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? If you’re a fan of Montgomery’s original story, then this is a hearty, “yes!”
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA
Date of review: January 4, 2020