Anne of Green Gables

Manga Classics. Sept. 2020. 308p. adapted by adapted by Crystal S. Chan. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781947808171; pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781947808188.
Gr 4-7–A charming manga adaptation of a beloved classic. A homely, red-haired orphan with a hyperactive imagination hopes to be adopted by an elderly brother and sister pair. High jinks ensue. Even as she continues to make blunders, Anne Shirley wins over Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert. The preteen befriends the well-off and beautiful Diana Barry and enters into a competitive and possibly romantic relationship with the handsome and clever Gilbert Blythe. She overcomes obstacles and achieves a scholarship to the local teacher’s college, making her adopted family proud. Chan’s adaptation, the only manga officially sanctioned by the author’s estate, hews closely to the source material while editing out some of the verbose passages and the original’s problematic content. Anne’s spirited outlook on life shines through in the narrative, and her passionate reactions to dramas big and small will resonate with middle graders. The illustrations magnify Anne’s growing pains. The work is not without its dark moments. The death of a main character late in the story will elicit tears, and the art presents those scenes with a starkness and power that words alone don’t quite get across. The panels and layout keep the pacing brisk, and expressive faces draw readers in. The tale is set in 19th-century Prince Edward Island, Canada, and features an all-white cast.
VERDICT A strong choice where manga and graphic novel adaptations are popular. Fans of the original and historical fiction will thoroughly enjoy. This can be read alone or alongside the prose novel to enhance the experience.

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