Genre: Classic American Literature/Adventure/ Manga
Book description (Goodreads): Chafed by the “sivilized” restrictions of his foster home, and weary of his drunkard father’s brutality, 14 year-old Huck Finn fakes his own death and sets off on a raft down the Mississippi River. He is soon joined by Jim, an escaped slave. Together, they experience a series of rollicking adventures that have amused readers, young and old, for over a century. Their peaceful existence ends abruptly, however, with the appearance of the King and the Duke, an incorrigible pair of con artists who take over the raft. After many difficulties, Huck and Jim escape their tormentors, and with the help of an imaginative rescue by Huck’s old friend Tom Sawyer, Jim gains his freedom. Manga Classics breathes new life into this American Classic with a faithful adaptation of Mark Twain’s masterpiece.
I am a pretty big advocate for the Manga Classics editions of timeless literature because they are effective for teaching and learning on a number of levels. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an American Classic by Mark Twain, and the manga edition helps readers visualize what the complex language is trying to portray in this tale. The art is exquisite, and this edition has an excellent forward that introduces the novel and some of the adaptations from the original text to the manga version and how some language may have been moved around a bit, but the aim is to keep it as authentic as possible to the original book to keep it as a core text that can be aligned to the Common Core State Standards. This book also talks about the different southern dialects that some of the characters express sin their language, which helps when trying to read some of the dialogue and to put the words with a voice that belongs to the early American South. The explanation of the adaptation from text to manga is interesting as it goes to explain the aim to try and keep the book as a single volume to fit with the other Manga Classics. It also has a map to follow as a visual string of events in the story as Huck makes his way down the Mississippi River.
There was only one thing I did not like about this book and it honestly has nothing to do with the book itself. It has to do with its publication. The Manga Classics edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is scheduled AFTER the release of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which was annoying because a reader can read Tom Sawyer first and then go into the events of Huckleberry Finn almost as a sequel, even though the two novels do not have to necessarily be read in that order. It just makes more sense to do it that way in that at the beginning of Huck Finn, he is talking about his fortune that he acquired, a fortune gained through the events in Tom Sawyer. Other than that, a flawless and beautiful adaptation of the original novel by Mark Twain. DISCLAIMER: The book advertises lesson plans and goodies for teaching the Manga Classics edition through their website, but they only have lesson plans for their original three publications–Manga Classics, when will you update the lessons for us educators waiting to see what you do with it?! On another note, it should be easy for any educator to develop their own lesson plans around these editions as well–just be creative and know the CCSS!
Genre: Classic American Literature/Adventure/ Manga
Book description (Goodreads): The rascal Tom Sawyer can’t stay out of trouble for a single minute! In this tale full of childhood mischief, adventure, and trouble, Tom turns the Mississippi town of St. Petersburg on its ear nearly every day – but there’s a darker side to this town as well. When his childish adventures take a deadly turn, Tom and his outcast friend, Huckleberry Finn, must find a way to rise to the challenge, or else…!
I read Tom Sawyer when I was in 8th grade and don’t remember it all that well. I remember the movie more (I have it but haven’t watched it in years), and I remember being extremely frightened of Injun Joe! This Manga Classics edition keeps that fear from the villain in a way that holds true to the original writing of the novel at well as using gorgeous art to show some of the frightening thing that Tom and Huck witness. Tom is just a boy who wants to do whatever, but he generally conforms to society like a good boy, even finding interest in a pretty girl. When he spends time with Huck Finn, people look down on him, especially because of Huck’s upbringing. The way in which this manga is written is much easier to access than its counterpart, Huckleberry Finn, and deals with a whole different slew of global issues such as honesty, helping others, and doing the right thing. One of the things I didn’t quite understand was why Huck Finn was published first, but it is irrelevant now that both are out. Even though Tom Sawyer chronologically comes first, Huck Finn appears to be a larger project to tackle when recreating these beautiful Manga Classics editions. Once again, a volume I can definitely see myself using in the classroom!
These two volumes are no disappointment and as always, I am looking forward to the next Manga Classics publications. This duo set is nice in that hey go together as a story, and if you place the covers together, they make a single image. I hope Manga Classics does more combos like this!