Graphically Shakespeare

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There is an increasing number of graphic versions of Shakespearean plays and they have been gaining quite a following. Recently our English department purchased ten copies of a graphic Merchant of Venice and had great success with these, engaging otherwise dis-enfranchised Year 10 readers.

Here are two different takes in this vein – one more expected and the other a very different perspective.

Usborne Graphic: Macbeth – Russell Punter with Massimiliano Longo & Valentino Forlini

Harper Collins Australia

August 2020

  • ISBN: 9781474948128
  • ISBN 10: 147494812X
  • Imprint: Usborne – GB
  • List Price: 16.99 AUD

No doubt Macbeth is my favourite of Shakespeare’s plays and this graphic version has great appeal across ages from around ten to mid-secondary with its vibrant comic strip illustrations and updated language.

This is probably the most successful graphic adaptation of the Bard’s plays I’ve seen and for the purists there are some original lines included, italicised for easy recognition, a brief introduction including the cast of main characters and a mini-essay to conclude with factual information about both the playwright and the history of Macbeth.

All in all, either as an addition to your graphic collection or as one to share with your English literature teachers, this one ticks all the boxes.

Yorick and Bones – Jeremy Tankard and Hermione Tankard

Harper Collins Australia

September 2020

  • ISBN: 9780062854315
  • ISBN 10: 0062854313
  • Imprint: HarperCollins – US
  • List Price: 16.99 AUD

Ok, so perhaps I fudged a bit with the Shakespeare reference as such and this one could more accurately described as ‘inspired by Shakespeare’ but it is very funny, very quirky and is definitely going to grab your readers from around eight years upwards.

The Tankard father and daughter duo have created the first in an imaginative and lively series that young readers especially your lovers of graphic will absolutely relish.

Yorick the skeleton has been disinterred after a few hundred years off-duty and in keeping with his origins is inclined to speak in very Shakespearean language e.g. “Pray, get thee onto him! I wish thee luck!”. Bones is the very hungry dog who has dug up Yorick – obviously in search of gnaw-able bones. Being a dog Bones didn’t really expect bones that would talk back!

Can this unlikely pair actually become friends? Perhaps if Bones can find a treat that not only suits his appetite but is not quite so fulsome in its conversation, they just might. From hotdogs to games of marbles, soccer balls to babies in prams, this a delicious romp through some creative and fun mayhem.

I would highly recommend it as a new series to grab particularly any reluctant readers as well as your kiddos who pounce on the graphics.

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