Animal Farm: The Graphic Novel by George Orwell, adapted and illustrated by Odyr [in Booklist]
Love ’em or disdain ’em, but classics turned into full-color graphic adaptations are a growing genre. For reluctant readers, the positives enabled by illustrative enhancement to the original text can often outweigh potential negatives. Brazilian graphic novelist Odyr’s “fully authorized” adaptation (in accordance with The Estate of Sonia Brownell Orwell) of Orwell’s 1945 classic is an affecting example, alchemizing Orwell’s period writing into a timeless, immediately terrifying warning about the dangers of abusive power.
Before his death, porcine Old Major inspires rebellion in his fellow barn-inhabitants with his dream of “animalism.” The animals all agree they have had enough of “misery and slavery” at the hands of owner Mr. Jones. After achieving freedom from human control, two pigs, Napoleon and Snowball, rise as leaders, until Napoleon manipulates himself into sole domination – and the consequences of his tyranny prove eerily familiar.
Odyr’s adaptation is hitting shelves just in time for the new school year, and educators might consider Odyr’s adaptation – made impressive with urgent, looming art – not as a replacement, but certainly as a tool for enrichment.