Fresh, thought-provoking, consistently amusing; readers will start to browse, then find they've finished it.

MACANUDO #2

A second collection of daily comic strips from Argentine cartoonist and children’s-book creator Liniers (What There Is Before There Is Anything There, 2014, etc.).

First run in La Nación in 2003 and 2004, the delicately colored strips vary wildly in tone and content but are unified by an appealingly daffy sensibility. The cartoonist has a rotating stable of characters he seems to trot out whenever the mood strikes. Book-loving Henrietta delights in the company of her cat, Fellini, and her teddy bear, Mandelbaum, and enjoys sweetly innocent “adventures.” In one strip, she hangs from a tree branch, explaining to a curious Fellini that “I want to know how I’m going to see the world when I’m a grown-up….” Other recurring characters include Z-25, the sensitive robot (unsurprisingly, he is quite lonely), the top-hatted, carrot-nosed “mysterious man in black,” a squadron of gnomes with tall, striped or polka-dot hats, a flock of penguins, “the bovine movie buff,” and most poignantly, Oliverio the olive, whose punch lines almost always include the tragic realization that he is a foodstuff. Many cartoons celebrate the surreal, others provoke existential musings, and still others are wry acknowledgments of the challenges inherent in producing a daily comic strip (“I recently got an idea for a joke,” confides a man whose hat has grown and shrunk over eight minipanels, “but it got away from me”).

Fresh, thought-provoking, consistently amusing; readers will start to browse, then find they've finished it. (Comic strips. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Dec. 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59270-169-8

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced...

MACBETH

From the Wordplay Shakespeare series

A pairing of the text of the Scottish Play with a filmed performance, designed with the Shakespeare novice in mind.

The left side of the screen of this enhanced e-book contains a full version of Macbeth, while the right side includes a performance of the dialogue shown (approximately 20 lines’ worth per page). This granular focus allows newcomers to experience the nuances of the play, which is rich in irony, hidden intentions and sudden shifts in emotional temperature. The set and costuming are deliberately simple: The background is white, and Macbeth’s “armor” is a leather jacket. But nobody’s dumbing down their performances. Francesca Faridany is particularly good as a tightly coiled Lady Macbeth; Raphael Nash-Thompson gives his roles as the drunken porter and a witch a garrulousness that carries an entertainingly sinister edge. The presentation is not without its hiccups. Matching the video on the right with the text on the left means routinely cutting off dramatic moments; at one point, users have to swipe to see and read the second half of a scene’s closing couplet—presumably an easy fix. A “tap to translate” button on each page puts the text into plain English, but the pop-up text covers up Shakespeare’s original, denying any attempts at comparison; moreover, the translation mainly redefines more obscure words, suggesting that smaller pop-ups for individual terms might be more meaningful.

Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced e-book makes the play appealing and graspable to students . (Enhanced e-book. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: The New Book Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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Chwast and Twain are a match made in heaven.

A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT

Design veteran Chwast delivers another streamlined, graphic adaptation of classic literature, this time Mark Twain’s caustic, inventive satire of feudal England.

Chwast (Tall City, Wide Country, 2013, etc.) has made hay anachronistically adapting classic texts, whether adding motorcycles to The Canterbury Tales (2011) or rocket ships to The Odyssey (2012), so Twain’s tale of a modern-day (well, 19th-century) engineer dominating medieval times via technology—besting Merlin with blasting powder—is a fastball down the center. (The source material already had knights riding bicycles!) In Chwast’s rendering, bespectacled hero Hank Morgan looks irresistible, plated in armor everywhere except from his bow tie to the top of his bowler hat, sword cocked behind head and pipe clenched in square jaw. Inexplicably sent to sixth-century England by a crowbar to the head, Morgan quickly ascends nothing less than the court of Camelot, initially by drawing on an uncanny knowledge of historical eclipses to present himself as a powerful magician. Knowing the exact date of a celestial event from more than a millennium ago is a stretch, but the charm of Chwast’s minimalistic adaption is that there are soon much better things to dwell on, such as the going views on the church, politics and society, expressed as a chart of literal back-stabbing and including a note that while the upper class may murder without consequence, it’s kill and be killed for commoners and slaves. Morgan uses his new station as “The Boss” to better the primitive populous via telegraph lines, newspapers and steamboats, but it’s the deplorably savage civility of the status quo that he can’t overcome, even with land mines, Gatling guns and an electric fence. The subject of class manipulation—and the power of passion over reason—is achingly relevant, and Chwast’s simple, expressive illustrations resonate with a childlike earnestness, while his brief, pointed annotations add a sly acerbity. His playful mixing of perspectives within single panels gives the work an aesthetic somewhere between medieval tapestry and Colorforms.

Chwast and Twain are a match made in heaven.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-60819-961-7

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2013

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