To read a book for the first time is to make the acquaintance of a new friend; to read it a second time is to meet an old one.
-- Selwyn Champion

Young readersElementary readersUpper elementary readersMiddle school readers
6 stars

Bram Stoker's Dracula: The Graphic Novel

AR: 2.7
Lexile:
RC:
by Gary Reed     Illus. by Becky Cloonan
Short Graphic Novel
Genre: Horror Fiction

Original post — Friday, April 11, 2008

Jonathan Harker is in Transylvania arranging the purchase of a castle in London for his client, a Count Dracula. What he doesn't know is how dangerous his client really is. Meanwhile, back in London, his fianc?, Mina, is noticing that her friend, Lucy is acting more and more strangely. Then Jonathan is hospitalized because of his experiences at Dracula's Transylvania castle and a "ghost ship" crash lands in London carrying many boxes of dirt. Soon after that, Lucy gets sick and has strange wounds on her neck. One of her "boyfriends" calls in Doctor VanHelsing to help Lucy, but VanHelsing suspects that this is no ordinary illness.

Bram Stoker was not a great writer but he wrote one great book, Dracula. This adaptation compresses the story and abbreviates the dialogue but tries hard to keep the "flavor" of the original book, and most of the time it succeeds. It gave me a little thrill to read Dracula saying about the wolves outside his castle, "Ah, listen to them. The children of the night. What music they make!" One of the best lines and pretty creepy, too! The structure of the story follows the original, jumping from Transylvania to London and back, but it's easy to follow.

The only thing I didn't really like was the art. I would have preferred the drawings to be a little more gothic, maybe like a scary version of Tony DiTerlizzi's stuff. The illustrator mentions in her notes that she was trying to "update" the images so younger readers would be more interested and the pics wouldn't feel dated. I guess that's why the male characters have generic manga-style haircuts. Whatever.

Overall, I thought this was a decent attempt. As Gary Reed (adapter) puts it, hopefully this adaptation will "entice [readers] to savor Stoker's original work."

(Last modified:04/11/2008)

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