This is a graphic novel anthology, with four stories that take place before and during the live-action Aladdin movie.
- Love & Friendship: Aladdin shows a young street rat, like himself, around Agrabah, looking for the good parts.
- Words & Deeds: After an escape attempt is thwarted, Dahlia tries to get Princess Jasmine to see that the world can be learned about through books.
- Lost & Found: Abu, Carpet, and Rajah try to retrieve Aladdin’s lucky charm from a pack of street dogs.
- Duty & Dreams: One thousand years before the events of Aladdin, Genie helps a young girl named Zayna realize maybe her current life isn’t so bad after all.
The intended target is elementary to middle-schoolers, so I was able to breeze through it. The panels and speech bubbles are spread out, not too wordy, and easy to follow. All four stories were short too, no more than a few pages, and each contain a lesson on finding the good in the bad, helping friends, and more. There was a fine balance in the art of detailed and yet simple, to stay easy on young eyes.
As an adult, I found the art too simple at times: for some panels where we are pulled out a little bit, all elements seemed rendered in amorphous blobs. While the renditions of the characters were for the most part true to their live-action counterpart, some of their expressions were too cartoony, and they crossed over into uncanny valley for me. The chapter with Abu, Carpet, and Rajah as the main characters did not go over well for me… some of the goofy things they get up to just does not translate well to live action, or even a rendition of a live-action film =P
Young readers will adore this graphic novel. They’ll find it entertaining, and it would be a good segway into more graphic novels. More important, they will be able to read it easily. A definite add for libraries and/or young Disney lovers!
Bechko, Corinna. Disney’s Aladdin: Four Tales of Agrabah. 2019.