A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
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.
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
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Pigs and people toast each other with presumably alcoholic beverages.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.