Snarked: Forks and Hope by Roger Langridge

Langridge, Roger, Snarked: Forks and Hope. 2012, Kaboom!. ISBN: 978-1-60886-095-1, graphic novel, collection of issues 0-4 of the comic book series.

Quote:

So join us as we tell the tale

Of how unfolds this day!

Excitement and adventure wait!

They’re just a whim away!

There’s secrets, signs and shadows,

Yes, and enemies anew.

But never fear–because there’ll be

Some friends encountered too…

Awards: won 2012 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Kids (ages 8-12)

Plot:  Set after the events in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, Snarked follows the adventures of the Walrus and the Carpenter, two con men, as they live in Wonderland.  The King has gone missing and young Princess Scarlet and her baby brother Prince Rusty have to escape the palace and the evil advisors.  They join up with the Walrus and the Carpenter and begin the hunt for the King.

What I thought: This graphic novel was really funny.  And really clever.  It is full of asides and nods to the Carroll novels and works these references in seamlessly.  The Walrus, who could be the villain in a different story, is the scoundrel-with-a-heart and the brains of the story.  Usually a step ahead of everyone, he meets his match in Princess Scarlet, who is single-minded in her quest to find her father.  The conflict between those two characters is more interesting than that between the heroes and the palace advisors.  Many other characters from the original books show up too such as the Cheshire Cat, the Gryphon, Bill the Lizard and others.

Audience: A tough one.  While the art and events are suitable for 3rd graders, the vocabulary is far more complex and more along what a 5th or 6th grader would understand.

Strengths/weaknesses:  While the comic is understandable, and funny, without having read the books, it is very referential to Carroll’s work.  It is a much richer experience if one has read Carroll’s books before reading this work.  Also, this book is just the first of three and so is not a complete story.

Uses: would be great as a follow-up to Carroll’s work.  The comics have wonderful rich word choices and would be a good way to expand children’s vocabulary by seeing the words in context.  Because of the split between the action/picture understanding level and the reading level of the text, it would be a good book to read with/to a child.

Read-alikes: There are two sequels, Volume 2: Ships and Sealing Wax and Volume 3.  There are also the novels the series is based upon: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll.

Picture pulled from Amazon.com

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