Some retellings of classic literature that may appeal to boys:
Elementary and Middle School:
Frank Cammuso. The Dodgeball Chronicles. [Knights of the Lunch Table] (Scholastic, 2008) [Retelling of The Story of King Arthur and His Knights, by Howard Pyle]
Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Skottie Young. Fortunately, the Milk. (Harper, 2013) [Retelling of James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl.]
Neil Gaiman honors Roald Dahl with a hilarious sci-fi romp in Forunately, the Milk.
Neil Gaiman. The Graveyard Book. (HarperCollins, 2008) [Retelling of The Jungle Books, by Rudyard Kipling]
Stuart Gibbs. The Last Musketeer. (Harper, 2011) [Retelling of The Three Musketeers, by Alexander Dumas]
Want a little swash-buckling in your reading? Why not go back to a real original, with a
Tim Green. Pinch Hit. (Harper, 2012) [Retelling of The Prince and the Pauper, by Mark Twain]
It’s The Prince and the Pauper, with diving stabs of line drives and towering home runs. And the modern American royalty, movie stars!
Michael Mucci. Dracula. [All-Action Classics] ( Sterling , 2007) [Retelling of Dracula, by Bram Stoker]
Tim Mucci and Rad Sechrist. Tom Sawyer. [All-Action Classics] ( Sterling , 2007) [Retelling of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain]
Rodman Philbrick. The Young Man and the Sea. (Blue Sky Press, 2004) [Retelling of The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway]
Michael Sullivan. Escapade Johnson and the Phantom of the Science Fair. (PublishingWorks, 2009) [Retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, by Gaston Leroux]
Doug TenNapel. Bad Island. (Graphix, 2011) [Retelling of The Mysterious Island, by Jules Verne]
A sci-fi riff on Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island? In comic book form? By Doug TenNapel? With flying robots? That’s just not fair.
Doug TenNapel. Ghostopolis. (Graphix, 2010) [Retelling of The Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum]
This riff on The Wizard of Oz supercharges everything: The wizard isn’t some benign old man behind a curtain, he is a mighty sorcerer who is not about to give up control of his kingdom. There is no Glenda the good witch but a twelve foot black man with a Jesus complex. No flying monkeys, just demonic man-sized bugs. And Toto is a skeleton horse. No Garth, you aren’t in Kansas anymore, this is the afterlife!
J.R.R. Tolkien, illustrated by David Wenzel. The Hobbit. (Random House, 1990) [Retelling of The Hobbit, or, There and Back, by J.R.R. Tolkien]
Primarily for High School:
Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. (Quirk Books, 2009) [Retelling of Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen]
A.C.E. Bauer. Gil Marsh. (Random House, 2012) [Retelling of The Epic of Gilgamesh by Anonymous]
All heroes die. What makes them heroes is that their stories don’t. This retelling of Gilgamesh may be the first truly heroic tale you run into all year.
Libba Bray. Going Bovine. (Delacorte, 2009) [Retelling of Don Quixote, by Miguel De Cervantes]
Going Bovine is one psychedelic retelling of Don Quixote. Thoroughly modern, it still manages to capture all the idealistic and confused humor of the original, with splashes of The Odyssey and The Wizard of Oz just to keep you on your toes.
Timothy Carter. Evil? (Flux, 2009) [Retelling of The Crucible by Arthur Miller]
Brilliant! A harrowing and hilarious riff on “The Crucible”, with more than enough hot-button issues to taunt those censors that Arthur Miller took aim at half a century ago (you have been warned). Like Christopher Moore? Then you need to pick up “Evil?” Disappointed by Lauren Kate’s “Fallen”? Try this instead. You will never look at angels the same way again.
Carl Deuker. On the Devil’s Court. (Little, Brown, 1988) [Retelling of Faust, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe]
Gareth Hinds. Beowulf. (Candlewick, 2007) [Retelling of Beowulf, by Anonymous]
“Be of good comfort, my lord king. ‘Tis better for a man to avenge his friends than to spend his days lamenting. Verily for every one of us there is an ordained end; let us therefore take such occasion as God may give us of winning renown while life remains to us. Come, then, let us go and track this foul creature to her lair.”
Gordon Korman. Jake Reinvented. (Hyperion, 2003) [Retelling of The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald]
Barry Lyga and Colleen Doran. Mangaman. (Houghton Mifflin, 2011) [Retelling of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare]
A scifi/manga retelling of Romeo and Juliet? With a nod to Flat Stanley? If you are a manga fan, try to imagine a manga character rocketed into our world from the two dimensional pages of a comic book world. Every thought bubble actually appears beside his head. Motion lines appear when he runs, then fall to the ground. And that thing they do with their eyes! Clever, fun, and beautifully drawn.
Mahiro Maeda and Yura Ariwara. Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo. (Ballantine Books, 2008- ) [Retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas]
Christopher Moore. Fool. (William Morrow, 2009) [Retelling of King Lear, by William Shakespeare]
Donna Jo Napoli. The Wager. (Henry Holt, 2010) [Retelling of Faust, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe]
Daniel and Dina Nayeri Nayeri. Another Faust. (Candlewick, 2009) [Retelling of Faust, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe]
Kenneth Oppel. This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein. (Simon & Schuster, 2011) [Retelling of Frankenstein, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley]
The great men, powerful men, even terrible men, they don’t just appear on the pages of history. Even monsters come from somewhere. Even Frankenstein was a boy once…
William Shakespeare, illustrated by Emma Vieceli. Hamlet: Prince of Denmark. [Manga Shakespeare] (Harry N. Abrams, 2007) [Retelling of The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, by William Shakespeare]
William Shakespeare, illustrated by Sonia Leong. Romeo and Juliet. [Manga Shakespeare] (Amulet Books, 2007) [Retelling of Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare]
Jon Skovron. Man Made Boy. (Viking Penguin, 2013) [Retelling of Frankenstein, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley]
Frankenstein raised serious questions about the role of creation and creators in the industrial age. Now, in this striking modern retelling, the son of Frankenstein’s monster deals with the same struggle, but in the digital age he is both the created and the creator.