December 31, 2010

Wonderland by Tommy Kovac, Illustrated by Sonny Liew

Wonderland is a graphic novel that spins the original story off from a minor character named Mary Ann. Mary Ann is the white rabbit's house maid who is at first confused for Alice. In this telling, she is off to work, but late so she attempts a short-cut, landing her in the court of the Queen of Hearts. From here chaos ensues, leading Mary Ann to many of the familiar Wonderland characters; Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter, and even a reciting of Jabberwocky. I have never read the original, and it was obvious to me that much of the humor is lost as a result. I think readers and fans of Lewis Carroll's original will enjoy it, but others may find it confusing. It is rare that I read a graphic novel (the other being Amulet), so it was difficult for me to adjust to the format, so I can lose myself in the story. The illustrations are highly stylized and add depth to the story.
Reed Reads Score: 3

December 21, 2010

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

It took me three years to read this book. It called to me, but it was too long. Didn't have the time. A month ago my daughter read it. She told me a bit about it, said it was a bit unusual and disconcerting for her. I finished my last book, had nothing around to read, so I picked it up. I've just finished it and write this with tears. This is one of the most brillintly written books I have ever read. Period. It is a story, narrated by Death, of a little German girl, growing up in Nazi Germany. She finds life in words, and in the people around her who are both heroic and demonic. Not really a holocaust story. Not really a WWII story. This is a human story told from the German side, one we rarely read. Not all students will be ready for this book in middle school, but it is one that all of you should eventually read.
Reed Reads Score: 5