How to Get Your Kids to Like Literature

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Masterpiece Comics by R. SikoryakMasterpiece Comics by R. Sikoryak

Masterpiece Comics by R. Sikoryak

My kids are probably among the last whose family gets a daily newspaper with substantial, if somewhat dated, funny pages. (As I learned by reading his Twitter feed today, the 14-year-old gets a particular kick out of the absurdity of Mark Trail.) And of course, having access to their dad’s comic book collection, they’re familiar with a lot of superhero history as well. In fact, if there’s one area of classic literature that we’ve slacked off on, it’s … classic literature. OK, I’ve read them Kafka’s cool story about a guy who turns into a giant cockroach, but given my homeschooling policy of skipping all the stuff that most students forget as soon as they’re out of high school, we’ve managed to avoid some staples like The Scarlet Letter and Crime and Punishment.

Well, it looks I’ve inadvertently hit upon a solution. I had never heard of the artist and writer R. Sikoryak before I came across his collection Masterpiece Comics in a college bookstore. But it seemed like something GeekTeen John would enjoy, so I asked Montreal-based publisher Drawn & Quarterly for a copy. Apparently, I was right.

Here’s the GeekTeen’s review:
It seems like a parent’s dream: a comic book based on classic plays and books. This dream has become a reality with the new book Masterpiece Comics. Masterpiece Comics is a collection of comics by R. Sikoryak that is a mixture of classic comics like Blondie and Little Lulu and classic literature like Macbeth and Crime and Punishment. The mix actually works very well; both mediums manage to compliment each other without losing anything in the process.

From Masterpiece Comics by R. SikoryakFrom Masterpiece Comics by R. Sikoryak

From Masterpiece Comics by R. Sikoryak

The stories in the book are very varied and diverse. Some of the stories include “Mephistofield” a Garfield version of the old German legend of Faust, and Superman becomes Albert Camus’ character in the 1942 novel The Stranger.

I thought the book was very good. The art is almost identical to the comics they’re parodying. I liked how Sikoryak made the comic characters fit the classic characters they represent. The only problem I found with this book is that I didn’t know some of novels and comics, but that didn’t really deter my enjoyment of the book.

Masterpiece Comics is good for teens and up. There is some nudity [Mom’s Note: Think Blondie and Dagwood in the Garden of Eden] so it’s not for young kids. You also might want to have your kids read the novels before or after reading this book to understand it more. At the very least, this book will inspire your kids to start reading the classics.

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