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VOYAJumping on the graphic novel bandwagon, this series launches a line of graphic novels based on classics. The text of each of these first three offerings is true to the original work but abridged. Although the format can make literature more accessible, it can also, in some cases, lend an air of hipness to a work as well. Black Beauty is a children's classic, but the gorgeous, fluid, black-and-white drawings in this version make the story more appealing to an older crowd. Frankenstein lends itself best to the format. The stylized drawings covered with washes of grey add to the atmosphere of fright and horror about what the good doctor has wrought. Red Badge of Courage is the least appealing adaptation. Although Crane's writing is elegant, it can be daunting to a middle schooler unused to nineteenth-century turns of phrase. A graphic novel could have been just the thing to make this work more accessible; instead it somehow makes Crane's story more muddled. In fact his writing was apparently too uncomplicated for the editor of this GN because in a section telling how the work was adapted, readers are shown a variation of a battle sequence that is compact and true to Crane's writing. The editorial notes tell the artist to expand it by several pages. Overall these books are fun adaptations of great literature. The black-and-white art in all three is terrific, and keeping the original text ensures high quality stories. At the end of each book, there are sections titled "The Making of . . ." where the artist explains how she or he planned the breakdown of the story and how the art layout was determined. There are also galleries of alternate covers as well as early sketchesof the main characters. It is a nice look inside the process of adaptation and the creation of a graphic novel. The books would be a good choice for the library or media center both to grow a graphic novel collection and to bolster the literature collection. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J G (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Graphic Novel Format). 2005, Puffin, 176p., Trade pb. Ages 11 to 15.