In which Annie (high school teacher, mother of two young girls and a younger boy) and her aunt Deborah (children's bookseller, mother of two young women in their 20s) discuss children's books and come up with annotated lists.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Marcia Williams: on beyond comic books

Dear Annie,

There are multiple industries these days of Shakespeare graphic novels.  I'll stop myself from recounting all the riotously funny "updated" versions in mangashakespeare
(King Lear
in a Last of the Mohicans setting; Hamlet in a 2017 environmentally devastated word; a steampunk Twelfth Night -- and there's more!).  But unlike some Shakespeare comics, it uses some of the original language.

Every now and then I think, wow, two years into this blog and we haven't yet written about X.   Today, X = Marcia Williams, wonderfully kid-friendly translator of classics and folktales into her unique style of graphic novels.  Here's some of her Midsummer Night's Dream:

Tales from Shakespeare
retells seven plays, including A Winter's Tale. And a second volume does seven more. They all have a lovely whimsical quality, even while doing tragedy.  The text under the pictures narrates the story, and the pictures use actual Shakespeare quotes.  They work well as a read-aloud, pointing as you go.

We first discovered Williams with her graphic novel version of Robin Hood, followed soon after by Tales of King Arthur.  She's done Greek Myths and  The Odyssey; her latest is on Egyptian mythology.  Her Charles Dickens and Friends retells Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities and A Christmas Carol -- and in 48 (large, kinda dense) pages!  I've never seen her Canterbury Tales or Don Quixote (both not published in the U.S., alas) -- but I'm curious.



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