Graphic novels are often viewed as gateway reading, and while they’re also worthy in their own right, why not leverage comics’ appeal to younger readers to introduce classics? These quirky titles offer miniaturized, comics versions of canonized literature, spanning ancient myths to Louisa May Alcott (done up as My Little Ponies) to Rick Riordan.
Zach Weinersmith and Boulet. First Second, Feb. 21 ($19.99, ISBN 978-1-250-77629-7)
Kids defend their fort Treeheart from grumpy neighbor the Grindle, who keeps making them grow up too soon. Enter noble Bea Wolf in this junior version of the ancient epic poem. Ages 8–12.
Cowpiggy (Shelley Frankenstein! #1)
Colleen Madden. Top Shelf, May 16 ($14.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-60309-522-8)
An ancestor of the original demented scientists, little Shelley pulls some electrified reanimation pranks of her own (stitching toys to dead things!) in the modern day. Ages 9–12.
Little Fillies (My Little Pony: Classics Reimagined #1)
Megan Brown and Jenna Ayoub. IDW, June 13 ($12.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-68405-999-7)
A magical equine version of Little Women imagines the March sisters living in Broncord, Massahoofetts, as played by cartoon ponies Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy, and Rarity. Ages 9–12.
The Maze of Bones (39 Clues Graphic Novel #1)
Rick Riordan and Ethan Young. Graphix, Apr. 4 ($12.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-338-80336-5).
Riordan (the Percy Jackson series) partners with Young (Nanjing, the Burning City) for a comics version of his bestselling series about a global race to unravel the mystery behind wealthy gadabout Cahill’s lost inheritance. Ages 8–12.
Øyvind Torseter, trans. by Kari Dickson. Enchanted Lion, Apr. 18 ($27.95, ISBN 978-1-59270-276-3).
In an outing that’s little bit Odyssey and a little Moby Dick, Mulysses takes to the sea on an improbable mission to find the world’s largest eye (and bring it back home for fast cash). Ages 8–18.
Sherlock Holmes: The Final Problem
Arthur Conan and Doyle and Hannes Binder, trans. by David Henry Wilson. Northsouth, Apr. 4 ($18.95, ISBN 978-0-7358-4488-9).
A Swiss artist adapts the tale in which Holmes confronts Moriarty in the Swiss Alps, where the mountains are a character unto themselves. Ages 8–12.
Sins of Youth (Mythics #5)
Patricia Lyfoung, Patrick Sobral, and Philippe Ogaki. Papercutz, June 20 ($19.99, ISBN 978-1-5458-1029-3)
Teenage descendents of deities from cultures across the world form a team united against chaos. Ages 10–13.