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The Young Inferno Hardcover – 4 Sep 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Age Range: 11 - 13 years
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books; 1st UK Hardback edition (4 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845077695
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845077693
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 1.3 x 26 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 705,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


What a briliant idea combining the skills of wordsmith, John Agard, and illustrator Satoshi Kitamura, this is an updating of Dante's Inferno for our times and for a younger readership. It is an irresistible package, with a poetic feast of finery, and artwork from one of our finest picture book artists, which will amuse intrigue and inspire. This is a must for children of all ages. (Publishing News)

Dante’s Inferno reincarnated in a graphic novel format and retold with the sharpest wit by the brilliant John Agard, this visually intriguing book is a wonderfully accessible way into the classic… This book is every English teacher’s dream and so much more. (Bookseller)

John Agard's Young Inferno transposes Date's epic poem into the modern day, as we follow a hoodie-clad protagonist who is guided by Aesop through each of the nine circles of hell. Satoshi Kitamura's lively illustrations draw on a diverse range of influences - from Biblical to cinematic - in this wide reaching and ambitious work. it is an energetic, high impact version of one of the seminal texts in literature. (Bookseller)

Kitamura's black and white drawings take on a new freedom and ferocity. As the teenage hoodie narrator makes his way down the gutter of the book and into the nine circles of hell, the line is more authoritative and emphatic than ever, excitingly varied in tone and texture, responding to every nuance of Agard's text. There are intriguing portraits of hell's inhabitants, including political figures of our own time, and aside from all the apocalyptic goings-on, there's a good measure of wit and romance too. (Guardian)

It's hard to imagine a more ambitious project than a child's version of Dante's Inferno, but thank goodness someone had the vision to commission John Agard to write YOUNG INFERNO and Satoshi Kitamura to illustrate it, because between them - with a nod to Dante, of course - they have created a masterpiece.  Guided by Aesop instead of Virgil, we see Frankenstein as a bouncer outside Hell's Second Circle 'frisking souls for scandalous traces' and Einstein in the Third Circle:'How was he to know that his equation/would lead to two cities' devastation?/ All the more reason to cherish reason.'  The astute child can look for clues in the illustrations as to who might be 'that smooth duo who caused much blood to flow/between the Tigris and Euphrates'. (Daily Telegraph)

A funky and powerful book. Agard takes Dante's famous poem about a visit to Hell and reworks it to today's youngsters, mingling 21st Century street cred with ancient mythology. Kitamura's stylised black and white illustrations draw the reader effortlessly in. (Northern Echo)

Agard's twenty-first century voice and his use of full and half rhyme lend this terrible journey a compelling rhythm and pace… Kitamura's silhouettes and edgy line drawings express the menace and foreboding inherent in what the boy sees, just as clearly as they capture the emotion of his reactions. The Agard-Kitamura partnership goes from strength to strength, and this is their most potent collaboration so far. (Ibby Link)

Satoshi Kitamura sets the journey on a monochromatic scenic route in black ink and watercolour, in a sequence of powerful, uncompromising images: a master work. (School Librarian)

John Agard's retelling of Dante's Inferno, superbly illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura, has an edgy, contemporary feel that should resonate well with its intended teenage audience… This is a thought provoking book with strong visual and acoustic appeal. Highly recommended for teenage readers. (INIS)

Rich with lively references, from Shakespeare and Wagner to the Bible and Beauty and the Beast, The Young Inferno gains strength thanks to Kitamura's illustrations which beautifully match the text with almost geometric images, silhouettes and scenes and bring an extra intensity to the words. (Bologna Bookfair Journal)

A red-hot youth-inspired interpretation of the original. Kitamura's illustrations are as immportant a part of the storytelling process as Agard's words. They form a potent combination. Forget what you think you know about ancient texts: this will have you hooked in no time. (Young Post)

A completely contemporary update to an old classic, Dante's Inferno by an author/illustrator marriage made in heaven. Agard's wickedly witty re-telling is set off to stunning effect by Kitamura's stylish and stylized, high energy illustrations in graphic novel format with plenty of detail to pour over. Follow Kitamura's hoodie-sporting protagonist through the nine circles of hell. It will be one of the most original reading journeys you'll ever take. (Riveting Reads SLA)

Winner of the CLPE Poetry Award: "The Young Inferno is a vibrant and brilliant re-telling for young people of Dante's classic. Agard finds ways to make the old new as we follow our hoodie hero through the nine circles of hell and back again… Always energetic and mentally dextrous, Agard's The Young Inferno puts us through the paces and brings us face to face with the Furies!" Jackie Kay, Poetry Award Judge (Books for Keeps)

A sharp and thoroughly modern take on Dante. (ABC Best Books for Children)

'One hopes that in this, the National Year of Reading, Frances Lincoln's wonderful Inferno will be read throughout the land.' (John Newman, The Newham Bookshop Publishing News)

I took the risk of promoting this exuberant collection at an academoc conference in Italy! Even a Dante scholar in the audience seemed charmed by Agard's 'take' on this classic text, superbly illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura who has become a regular illustrator of Agard's poetry. If it makes one reader go to the original, all to the good; there's plenty to admire in its own right in 13 dramatic cantos for teenage readers. (Morag Styles Books for Keeps)

From the Inside Flap

Can our hoodie hero make it through nine circles of Hell and back again? Will he find love with his soulmate Beatrice?
Discover the city of Dis where everybody disses everybody.
Meet Frankenstein, the lovesick bouncer with the bling-bling.
Come face to face with the Furies, a gang of snake-haired females in T-shirts. Prepare for a host of gluttons, bigots and plunderers from the world of history and politics.
John Agard fires Dante’s Inferno into the 21st century in a red-hot retelling, with wicked artwork from Satoshi Kitamura.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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on 3 March 2015
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
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Most helpful customer reviews on 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
4.0 out of 5 starsHoodie goes to hell
on 30 January 2015 - Published on
3 people found this helpful.
5.0 out of 5 starsThis was both an intriguing and unsettling work, one that will lend itself to a lot of discussion!
on 9 December 2009 - Published on