The Manga Classics series has done it yet again with an excellent adaptation of Anne of Green Gables; turning the classic literature into an easy to read, and easy to understand story that put Prince Edward Island on the map. The book starts off with a beautiful quote, “Dedicated to all the children who dream…” and the family of original author, Lucy Maud Montgomery, provides their seal of approval with a foreword written by Montgomery’s granddaughter, Kate Macdonald Butler.
Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are siblings who decide to adopt a boy to help them manage their farm, Green Gables. By accident, a girl; Anne Shirley is sent instead of a boy. Anne is full of wonder, flowery language, and so much excitement at the thought of being adopted that Matthew decides to overlook the mistake and brings her home with him. Initially, Marilla and Anne have many differences to overcome, giving the story tension and comedic points. Anne has been raised as an orphan and has never been taught the social graces expected of a lady. Nor has she ever had to reign in her wild and colorful imagination that flows continuously from her.
Crystal S. Chan works wonderfully with illustrator Kuma Chan by providing him with details of how certain scenes should be drawn to ensure their accuracy; including seating charts for where students are sat at Avonlea’s school. She includes an interesting section on this at the back of the book for readers to enjoy a bit of how a huge project like this came together. Kuma Chan’s style is true to manga style with this black and white book reading from right to left, and characters feature big eyes, small lips and dramatic hair; which is quite fitting for Anne’s famous red locks. The backgrounds are realistic and set to the time period of the story, keeping it more on the accurate side rather than the fantasy side, which is often the setting for manga novels. This would be appreciated by any reader who is looking for an adaptation that stays true to the original work.
This is a very well done adaptation of the original Anne of Green Gables story. The medium of manga allows for a different interpretation of what’s happening in the story as we have visuals featured more prominently than simply text. Thought bubbles are shown as characters are having conversations, which gives the reader a full experience of what’s going on in a particular social interaction. As the author rightly points out in her notes at the end of this novel, it aids events in making them more clear and vivid. As a lover of the original story, however, I do have to admit that the flow of flowery language that is what Anne’s character is loved so much for doesn’t quite have the same feeling as reading through the original book. I highly recommend enjoying this manga version paired with the original version to truly enjoy how magical this story is.
Manga Classics: Anne of Green Gables 20
By Crystal S. Chan
Art by Kuma Chan
Manga Classics, 2020
Publisher Age Rating: 13-16
Series ISBNS and Order
Title Details and Representation
NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11), Older Teen (16-18), Teen (13-16), Tween (10-13)
Related to…: Classic to Comic