Lois Lowry's Newbery Medal-winning middle-grade novel The Giver has been read by millions and reimagined many times over. The latest addition to this line of innovative versions is P. Craig Russell's mesmerizing graphic novel.
As Lowry herself says in a conversation found in the back of the book, Russell's graphic novel sticks "very closely to the original." It is in this extremely faithful adaptation that much of the graphic novel's beauty can be found--Russell's stripping down of text is deliberate, the scenes he chooses to depict give a full view of the story while remaining firmly rooted in the graphic format. This dedicated visual retelling also gives depth, highlighting some of the more mature, intense aspects of the novel. One such example is Jonas's education on what "release" is: Russell dedicates an entire double-page spread to the process of injecting poison into the baby's "teeny-weeny" veins; another two-page spread to boxing up the body and placing it in a "waste" disposal.
Additionally, Russell's envisioning of Jonas's "capacity to see beyond"--Jonas's ability to see snippets of color in a black-and-white world--is gracefully wrought. As Jonas absorbs more memories, the bold colors of our world slowly creep in, until the final pages are entirely in color. To accomplish this, Russell used a technique that creates a "blue/silvery tonal look" which, as he says in an included interview, gives "life to the page" even as it gives "the look of a world without color." The Giver Graphic Novel is a worthy adaptation, similar yet creative enough to win over those already familiar with the story while also inviting new readers in. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness