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Monday, March 24, 2014

Graphic Novel Version of Red Badge of Courage -- And it is pretty good!

Crane, Stephen; Vansant, Wayne (2005) The Red Badge of Courage:  The Graphic Novel.  London:  Penguin.

     This is a very well done adaptation.  Vansant is really good with panel transitions and somehow he manages to capture the point of view of the book.  We stay close to Private Henry, seeing his reactions to things in his facial expressions as well as Crane's words.  The story moves well, and Vansant captures the excitement and terror of the battlefield as well.  Reading this book is like seeing a really good stage adaptation of the original book --the action is moving in front of you and the characters are clearly brought to life.  In face, the only two complaints I have about the book is that the format is about the size of a regular paperback novel -- which means that he images are small -- they are easy enough to read, but I wish they were bigger.  They are beautiful sometimes and deserve to be bigger.  Similarly, I wish the images where in color.  Black and white works for this story -  it is somber when it needs to be, but I do wish it had color to it. 
      This would be a great book for any middle school or high school English teacher who teaches Red Badge of Courage.  I also think, though that the format makes this story accessible to younger grades.  I could see having this in my classroom library if I taught fifth grade or up.

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