Animal Farm: The Graphic Novel

Houghton Harcourt. Sept. 2019. 176p. ISBN 9780358093152. Rated: Teen+. $22. f
One fateful night, an aged pig named Old Major gathers all of the animals living on Manor Farm and urges them to rise up against their human masters. Inspired by Old Major’s words, the animals rebel, and after taking control of their home and renaming it Animal Farm, develop a list of commandments dedicated to ensuring equality and success. The following harvest is a triumph, but before long life on Animal Farm darkens when a malevolent pig named Napoleon seizes power and establishes a cult of personality based on fear, disinformation, and brute force. The thick, textured brushstrokes from Brazilian graphic novelist Odyr (Copacabana) are marvelous, and pages that resemble a synthesis of graphic novel and storybook layout prove brilliant at evoking the allegorical and fantastical layers of the story simultaneously.
VERDICT While Orwell’s classic 1945 novella is a specific satire of the Russian Revolution and the Soviet Union under Stalin, this skillful adaptation highlights the relevance of Orwell’s warning to stay vigilant against the gradual erosion of freedom and to resist leaders who preach equality but demand absolute fealty.
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