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Christmas Classics: Graphic Classics Volume 19    edited by Tom Pomplun order for
Christmas Classics
by Tom Pomplun
Order:  USA  Can
Eureka Productions, 2010 (2010)

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* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

I believe that one of the best and easiest ways to get some young adults today to read classical literature is to put the stories in graphic novel format, which helps keep what can sometimes be seen as stuffy writing interesting and fast-paced. This is exactly what the Graphic Classics series does and their nineteenth volume focuses on Christmas Classics.

The book opens with perhaps the most famous Christmas story of all, Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Illustrator Micah Farritor really manages to capture the essence of the time period and the darkness of the tale, which helps bring the story to life as much as the myriad of movie adaptations do. However, some memorable lines are left out, which might disappoint many a fan of this classic.

The story that benefits most from the graphic treatment is perhaps Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Blue Carbuncle. Sherlock Holmes stories lend themselves well to visual adaptations, allowing the reader to see exactly what is going on in the famous detective's head. Hunt Emerson's fun illustration style also helps make this an entertaining read.

On the flip side, the story that seems to lose something as a graphic adaptation is O. Henry's A Chaparral Christmas Gift. While Cynthia Martin's illustrations are very well-rendered, the more visual medium gives away the famous O. Henry twist just a little too soon.

The other four works will either set you in the holiday spirit (Clement C. Moore's A Visit from St. Nicholas and F. Scott Fitzgerald's A Luckless Santa Claus) or disturb you right out of it (Willa Cather's The Strategy of the Werewolf Dog and Fitz-James O'Brien's The Wondersmith). Whatever your Christmas mood, you are sure to find something that fits it in Christmas Classics.

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