Classic Stories

Graphic versions can make classic stories accessible to children who may never otherwise read them.

Spartacus: The Life of a Roman Gladiator
by Rob Shone and Anita Ganeri
Illustrated by Nick Spender
(Book House)
At the beginning of the story, we see the games from the point of view of a boy watching them for the first time. Then, after he watches Spartacus fight, and we follow the gladiator as he organizes and leads the famous slave revolt. Full of drama and action, the story pulls you in and holds your attention with Spartacus’ final fate left unknown. The book starts (and ends) with textbook style spreads giving the background to the events. These are harder work than the graphic narrative itself, so reluctant readers may need encouragement to go past them to discover the exciting and far more accessible story further on.
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The Lion Graphic Bible
by Jeff Anderson and Mike Maddox
The Bible is full of strong stories about good and evil, war and peace, love and betrayal. But its language is too difficult and too dry for many readers. This graphic version changes that, bringing the stories to life in a dramatic way and making them accessible to children and adults who prefer comics to books.
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The Hound of the Baskervilles
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

adapted by Chris Mould
(Oxford University Press)
These three classic horror stories work well in graphic format. The cartoon strip pictures are scarily atmospheric with just a slight touch of humour and the text, which is entirely narration without speech bubbles, is broken up into accessibly small chunks.
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Buy Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein from Amazon
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Bravo, Mr William Shakespeare!
by Marcia Williams
(Walker Books)
If children don’t like reading ordinary books, the chances of them enjoying reading Shakespeare plays in their original form is miniscule. However, there’s more chance of them enjoying Shakespeare on stage or screen if they understand the plots and that’s where this book could be useful. It tells the stories of As You Like It, Richard III, Antony and Cleopatra, Twelfth Night, King Lear and The Merchant of Venice in strip cartoon form. The story is narrated in the boxes below the pictures while the characters speak some of the original lines. Each page has a surround
featuring members of the audience whose comments add a touch of humour.
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