Thursday, June 13, 2013

Graphic By Nature

This is the place for graphic novel reviews, but you won't find any traditional superheroes here. If you're like me, you enjoy your comics funny, strange, and sometimes a little dark. But you also value an interesting story and captivating illustration. Sounds like you? Check out the review below.

Photo credit: Capstone Young Readers

Rudyard Kipling's Just So Comics: Tales of the World's Wildest Beasts is the graphic novel adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories. The graphic novel has been beautifully illustrated by Pedro Rodriguez as his style is reminiscent of Disney's The Lion KingAn outstanding team of writers at Capstone worked their magic on the original stories by artfully maintaining the feel of Kipling's writing while bringing new life to the text to create a graphic novel that is both unique and fun.

Rodriguez's use of color transports the reader to from Sub-Saharan Africa to the Red Sea to India through a safari of color. The drawings are whimsical but not so cartoonish that both parent and child can't enjoy them as the panels flow easily from one to the next. 

Author Rudyard Kipling illustrated the original Just So Stories in 1902, upon the book's first publishing. His pictures are in black and white with fine lines like pen and ink drawings. They are exquisite in their own right, as if you could take the individual panels, frame them, and hang them in your home as pieces of art.

Just So Comics has adapted four of the original thirteen stories:
  • How the Leopard Got His Spots
  • How the Elephant Got His Trunk
  • How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin
  • How the Camel Got His Hump

Each story is broken up into three parts. It starts with "Research" that includes a picture of the animal as well as facts about where he's from, what he eats, and what types of animals he hangs out with. The next section is entitled "Kipling's Observation" and recounts the way in which the animal has evolved. This section ends with the poem originally associated with the story. The third and final section, "Conclusion," shares facts and a drawing of the new and improved animal.

The stories are imagined versions of each animal's origin. Author-turned-explorer Rudyard Kipling is your guide -- he's the narrator that occasionally butts in, keeps things moving, and provides the reader with useful bits information along the way. Each tale is silly and fun -- a joy to read. There was more than one laugh-out-loud moment while flipping through the pages and I often caught myself smiling. While the graphic novel is aimed at grades 3 - 6 (8 - 11 year olds), there are tidbits thrown in for adults. This would make for good reading together, parent and child, either one story at a time or all in one sitting.


Bookshelf. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Just So Comics. It was colorful and clever. The comic stands on its own despite being an updated version of the renown Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories. If you have a young reader in your home, this demands a place on your shelf.

*A copy of Rudyard Kipling's Just So Comics: Tales of the World's Wildest Beasts was provided by the publisher, Capstone Young Readers, via

No comments:

Post a Comment