Friday, 15 April 2011

GRAPHIC NOVEL ~ The Hound of the Baskervilles ~ By: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Stone Arch Books

This colourful "graphic novel" is similar in format to "The Speckled Band and The Blue Carbuncle" that was the subject of a post on December 7, 2010.  However, this book is in full colour and contains eight chapters:  "The Great Detective,"  "Legend of the Hound," "A Dangerous Game," "Baskerville Hall," "Mystery on the Moor," "The Hound's Next Victim," "Holmes Closes In" and "Death on the Moor."

There is a "Glossary" at the back of the 63-page book with 14 Vocabulary Words:

ancestor (AN-sess-tur) - a relative or family member that lived a long time ago
comrades (KOM-radz) - good friends
convict (KON-vikt) - someone who has been in prison for committing a crime
elderly (EL-dur-lee) - another word for old
fatigue (fuh-TEEG) - great tiredness
identify (eye-DEN-tuh-fye) - to recognize who a person is
loyalty (LOI-uhl-tee) - faithful support of someone
lunatic (LOO-nuh-tik) - a wildly insane or crazy person
maiden (MAYD-uhn) - a young, unmarried woman
mire (MYR) - an area of extremely wet and muddy ground
moor (MOR) - a grassy area with soft, spongy ground like a bog
phosphorus (FOSS-fur-uhss) - a kind of chemical that glows in the dark
prehistoric (pree-hi-STOR-ik) - happening in a time before history was written down by humans
revenge (ri-VENJ) - an action taken to pay someone back for something mean they did in the past"

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
1859 - 1930
There are also notes about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:

"Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born on May 22, 1859, in Edinburgh, Scotland.  In 1885, he graduated with a degree in medicine from Edinburgh University.  Shortly after, Conan Doyle opened a successful medical practice in England.  While there, he married Louise Hawkins, and the couple soon had two children, Mary Louise and Alleyne Kingsley.  Meanwhile, Conan Doyle published several stories including 'A Study in Scarlet' in 1887.  This was the first story to feature the character Sherlock Holmes.  Before his death on July 7, 1930, Conan Doyle wrote 55 more tales about the world's most famous detective."

Additional information is also provided about Sherlock Holmes:

"Sherlock Holmes is the world's most famous detective.  In fact, he's so well-known that many people believe he was a real person.  However, Sherlock Holmes is actually a fictional character created by author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle."

"Although Sherlock Holmes wasn't a true-life detective, his character was based on a real person.  While at Edinburgh University, author Conan Doyle studied with a surgeon named Dr. Joseph Bell.  The author admired Dr. Bell's ability to diagnose his patients simply by examining the clues of their illness.  Conan Doyle gave Sherlock Holmes the same brilliant detective skills."

"So where did the name Sherlock Holmes come from?  Some people believe this question remains a mystery.  Others, however, think Conan Doyle used the last name of another doctor, Wendell Holmes.  The author may have also used the name of violinist Alfred Sherlock."

"At age 27, Conan Doyle wrote his first Sherlock Homes mystery in just three weeks.  The story, titled 'A Study in Scarlet,' appeared in the 'Beeton's Christmas Annual' magazine in 1887.  One year later, the story was published as a book with illustrations by the author's father, Charles Altamont Doyle."

"After 'A Study in Scarlet,' Conan Doyle wrote a dozen more Sherlock Holmes stories, which appeared in the Strand Magazine in London, England.  These stories also included illustrations by artist Sidney Paget.  Many people credit Paget for creating the detective's famous look, including his pipe, deerstalker cap, and inverness coat."

"By 1893, Conan Doyle decided to stop writing Sherlock Holmes mysteries.  In the story, 'The Final Problem,' the author killed off the great detective.  Readers around the world became extremely upset by this decision.  At their request, Conan Doyle continued writing Sherlock Holmes mysteries until 1927.  Before his death on July 7, 1930, Conan Doyle had written a total of 56 stories about the detective."  His passing was mourned the world over. 

The writer was buried at Minstead Churchyard,
 Hampshire, England under an oak tree. 
His headstone is a cross bearing the words:
Steel True
Blade Straight
Arthur Conan Doyle
Patriot, Physician and Man of Letters
"In the stories, Sherlock Holmes lived at 221B Baker Street in London, England.  Today, this real address has been turned into a museum for the great detective.  Visitors to the residence can learn more about Conan Doyle, his mysteries, and his character, the brilliant Sherlock Holmes."

The graphic novel also provides some "Discussion Questions" and "Writing Prompts."  It is also suggested that students could obtain further information, related to the book, by checking out a website called Facthound.  First select the child's grade  and then type in the ISBN number from the book (for 'The Hounds of the Baskervilles" the code is 9781434207555.)  Then click the "Fetch It" button and three website and five other "classic" books will pop up!

Prior to reading this "Graphic Novel," I was not familiar with the story, and on the first reading was a little confused.  I've read elsewhere that since this is a "graphic novel" format, portions of the original story were left out, which may be part of the reason I was flipping back a little to check who was who.

The illustrations, by Daniel Perez, are first rate.  Most are in sepia tones.  Here is an example of  one of the pages:

Pages 54 and 55
Sir Henry Baskerville is attacked
 and Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson
 save him from the beast
This graphic novel is, overall, an interesting read and I am sure it will inspire many youngsters to pick up other titles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  These may have been overlooked, were it not for the comic book format of this introductory volume.  Personally, I am interested in reading more tales by this well known author.

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