Animal Farm: The Graphic Novel

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Animal Farm: The Graphic Novel Book Poster Image
Compelling adaptation of classic satire rooted in reality.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

George Orwell's novel, about totalitarianism in general and Stalinism in particular, is one of the most famous satires in the English language. It comments on Soviet Russia specifically and human folly in general.

Positive Messages

The main message of Animal Farm is pretty bleak: in essence, "Don't let this happen." Most of the animals mean well and want their farm to succeed, but none are a match for the treachery of their leaders.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Many of the characters in Animal Farm care about their community, but few are intellectually equipped to see how they are being exploited until it is too late. For example, Boxer the horse is steadfast in his support of the farm and pushes himself to great acts of strength for the good of all. But even he is unprepared for his ultimate fate once he is no longer needed.


The animals rebel against their human master and chase him from the farm. When Farmer Jones returns with his neighbors, the animals attack the intruders and inflict various bites and cuts on them. Later, the pigs use their guard dogs to keep order on the farm. Some animals are executed for crimes for which they have supposedly confessed. Vicious dogs kill other animals. The bloody aftermath may upset some sensitive readers.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Pigs and people toast each other with presumably alcoholic beverages.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that George Orwell's Animal Farm is a biting satire of totalitarianism, written in the wake of World War II and published amid the rise of Soviet Russia. Although it tells a fairly simple story of barnyard animals trying to manage themselves after rebelling against their masters, the novel demonstrates how easily good intentions can be subverted into tyranny. This compelling graphic novel version, with watercolor illustrations by Odyr, roots the story in reality and has added appeal for today's teens. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byGordon A. April 23, 2021

Homeschooler reading assignment

I am sitting through a reading of this book with my 10 years old son. He is an average reader and on 5th grade level if he was in school. He generally understa... Continue reading
Adult Written bypstraker May 21, 2020

Kids respond brilliantly to the injustice on the farm

I read this with my daughter who was 7. I realised it was going to be a bit of a push for her, but she got really into it. Children have an acute sense of fairn... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bySpartan 5 October 2, 2019

The Communist Manifesto II

I think that it was a very compelling story that mimics the history of the soviet union. I personally think that it is a great book and highly recommend it for... Continue reading

What's the story?

As ANIMAL FARM opens, the animals on Farmer Jones' farm rise up and chase him away. They plan to run the farm themselves, for their own benefit. At first, the animals are able to work together and support one another. Gradually, however, the pigs begin making helpful suggestions about how the farm should be run. Before long, the pigs are at the top of the social ladder and the rest of the livestock are wondering what happened.

Is it any good?

The story and language are very simple, but author George Orwell is unnervingly precise in the way he depicts each step on the road from revolution to tyranny. Animal Farm has been popular and highly acclaimed since its publication in 1945, and is often required reading in schools. In 2005, Time magazine chose it as one of the 100 best English-language novels, and the book ranks at 31 on the Modern Library List of Best 20th Century Novels. Odyr's watercolor illustrations root the story in reality, and his adaptation of the novel is clear and compelling.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what totalitarianism means and how it's depicted in Animal Farm. How did it shape the 20th century, and does it still exists today?

  • One of the novel's most famous quotes is "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others." What might that paradoxical statement mean?

  • As the pigs grow more powerful, they find a number of animals who seem willing to confess to the most horrendous crimes, even though they know they will be executed for their supposed crimes. Do criminal confessions always contain the complete truth? Why might a suspect confess to crime he or she did not commit?

Book details

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For kids who love classic literature and graphic novels

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