Tuesday 17 July 2012

199. How the Elephant Got His Trunk :Graphic Spin by Blake A. Hoena illustrated by Pedro Rodriguez

How the Elephant Got His Trunk :Graphic Spin by Blake A. Hoena illustrated by Pedro Rodriguez
Published  May 2012 Stone Arch Books (Capstone Publishing)

From the publisher:
This graphic adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's The elephant's child relates how a young elephant's insatiable curiosity explains the fact that all elephants have trunks.

Now I know that some people out there will cringe at the idea of Kipling’s stories being re-told in graphic novel format.  I do understand this concern, but I have decided that it’s better to have the stories out there, being read by a wide audience.  If editions aren’t available on formats like this, or abridged editions, then the stories could be lost.  If used in the classroom, they could always be used in conjunction with the original.

This is the second graphic novel I have read this year (probably two more than I read last year!). 
Stone Arch have put out many graphic novel versions of traditional tales, myths and legends.  The thing I really like about them is the ’extra’ information they have in the back of the books. This series is set out like Kipling’s journal.  It’s divided into the following parts:

Research: Information on the boot-nosed elephant
Kipling’s Observation: the graphic novel version of the story
Conclusion: Information on the long-trunked elephant
Learn More: a glossary of particular terms used in the book
Meet our Team: which gives information about Rudyard Kipling, as well as the re-telling author and the illustrator.

The poem Six Honest Serving men (originally following The Elephants Child in the Just So Story) is printed at the end of the graphic novel, so not everything from the original story is lost.  I actually feel that this story really lends itself to being told in this format.  It's a story about a cheeky curious elephant, who really pushes his luck, and I think that the illustrations in this graphic novel version really bring the story to life.  We can really see the frustration on the faces of the animals as the elephant child bombards them with questions, and the elephant goes through so many emotions, wonder, anger, surprise, fear and joy all of which are shown through the illustration.

If you have never read a graphic novel, I highly suggest that you give these a try.  Not only will they appeal to readers, I think teachers will find ways to use them in the classroom.

Who will like this book: Boys and girls age 8+
Read it if you like: Graphic Fairy Tale series

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