cover image The Giver

The Giver

Lois Lowry, adapted by P. Craig Russell, illus. by P. Craig Russell et al. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $22.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-544-15788-0

This graphic novel adaptation of Lowry’s Newbery Medal–winning book hews close to the original text, retaining nearly all dialogue and narration in some form while substituting visual depiction for textual description. When Jonas turns 12, his perception of his seemingly utopian community begins to change. His selection as the next Receiver of Memory puts him in a position to see everything that is missing from the world he knows, as well as the hard truths that underlie his heretofore comfortable life. Russell (who also adapted The Graveyard Book) uses a simple, realistic cartoon style in a palette of blue pencil and ink wash that conveys the colorlessness of the world. The blue tone also mirrors the cool, passionless logic that drives the group’s decisions, and the vast swathes of white space on the page hint at the essential emptiness of the community members’ lives. Color is introduced slowly as Jonas begins to see it himself, helping the reader to identify with the startling changes that Jonas undergoes and creating a striking visual record of the heinous memories the boy receives—a mushroom cloud in a bright red panel, a battlefield and dying soldier in orange. An accessible version of the story for readers who have not yet encountered it. Ages 12–up. [em](Apr.) [/em]