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The City of Ember: The Graphic Novel
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this graphic adaptation of The City of Ember captures only some of the power of Jeanne DuPrau's popular science-fiction novel about kids looking for a way out of an increasingly dark underground city. The plot hinges on the deciphering of a ripped-up document, and the puzzle simply is not visually interesting. There's one death by natural causes and a couple of mildly frightening episodes in darkened tunnels, but no objectionable language or content.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
The citizens of the underground city of Ember regard it as the only light in a dark world. But when the lights flicker and food begins to run low, few have the imagination to believe that there might be another way to live. Lina, a messager, and Doon, a pipeworks laborer, hope there might be a way to save themselves and the ones they love, and when they find a mysterious document that hints at a way out of Ember, they pursue every clue to its surprising conclusion.
Is it any good?
This graphic adaptation of THE CITY OF EMBER hits the high points of the popular science-fiction novel, but it fails to generate the narrative power of the original. With the tale set mostly in darkness, the illustrations are necessarily muted and even murky. Much of the plot revolves around clues hidden in a ripped-up document, and the porocess of deciphering them is not visually interesting. Fans of Jeanne DuPrau's novel might enjoy this version, but it seems unlikely to spur new readers toward the original book.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the graphic novel adaptation of The Ember City compares with the original novel. Is it hard to make a dark underground city look interesting in drawn panels?
The City of Ember is science fiction, but do you think the failing city depicted in it is at all realistic? Can you imagine what it would be like in your city if food and power were scarce?
Would you be able to set off for life in a new city with only a few possessions and only a vague sense of your destination?
- Authors: Jeanne DuPrau, Dallas Middaugh
- Illustrator: Niklas Asker
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Random House
- Publication date: September 25, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 17
- Number of pages: 144
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Hardback, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.