Book Review- Beowulf by Gareth Hinds
Hinds, Gareth. 2007. Beowulf. New York, New York: Candlewick Press. ISBN 0763630233
b. Plot Summary
“I am BEOWULF. Many deeds of note have I done in my life.” In three parts, this graphic novel is a retelling of the long-told epic poem of the hero Beowulf. To save the people of his kingdom, Beowulf battles the evil monster Grendel. Upon Grendel’s defeat, our hero then battles Grendel’s mother. The people of the kingdom are so thankful that they shower Beowulf with gifts. Among the gifts is the grim advice from King Hrothgar of Denmark, “Come in what shape it may, death will subdue even thee, thou hero of war.” This sound advice is given upon the impending battle of a terrible dragon that is tormenting his people.
c. Critical Analysis
In poetic form and vibrant illustrations, Gareth Hinds bring the story of Beowulf alive. Hinds credits two adaptations (A.J. Church's 1904 translation and that of Francis Gummere) for his interpretation of the epic story. Each book begins with a narrative of beautiful cadence in verse, then the story progresses into a lengthy, wordless battle. Hinds uses a color palette from ash grey to burgundy red and every ruddy color in between. His arresting images lend themselves well to the beautifully written verses. It is a great graphic novel for a mature reader.
d. Review Excerpts
· American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults
· From The New York Times Book Review “A first-rate horror yarn... Visceral.”
· An American Library Association Great Graphic Novel for Teens
· In the high school classroom, this would be a great way to introduce discussion on epic fantasies.
· Compare/contrast various versions of Beowulf
o Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo ISBN 0763632066
o Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney ISBN 0393320979