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  • The Golden Compass: The Graphic Novel: Volume One by Philip Pullman
  • April Spisak
Pullman, Philip The Golden Compass: The Graphic Novel: Volume One; tr. from the French by Annie Easton; ad. by Stéphane Melchior; illus. by Clément Oubrerie. Knopf, 2015 80p
ISBN 978-0-553-52371-3 $18.99 R Gr. 6-10

Twenty years after the original publication of Pullman’s classic, this graphic novel focuses on the first third of that book. This volume covers Lyra’s leaving of Jordan College and finding out who her mother is, ending with Lyra on a boat heading North with her alethiometer and Pan, her daemon. The text is smooth and well chosen, capturing the essence of the source novel while also keeping the word count reasonable for the format. There isn’t much interplay between text and art, as each simply reinforces the other, but the use of dark shading is effective in slowing the reader’s eye with regularity, giving the pithy words more time to sink in. For every reader who will say that a graphic version wasn’t necessary or sets in stone elements best left to the imagination (it is difficult, after all, to capture the daemons as fluidly as the original novel did), there will be another who is thrilled to meet (or revisit) this remarkable book in smaller doses with lushly colored illustrations. The two other volumes aren’t due for a year and two years, so readers will have to be patient, or go back to the original book and get busy imagining how upcoming scenes will be illustrated.

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