Reviews for Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Booklist Reviews 2007 September #2
Washington Irving's classic American scare tale combines satire, horror, and farce, and in a memorable rendition well timed for Halloween, Grimly's darkly comic drawings draw forth all of these elements. As in his Edgar Allen Poe's Tales of Mystery and Madness (2004), the artwork unfolds in sepia-toned panels and vignettes that show Grimly's inspirations in early American comics. True to the source, the Horseman episode passes rather swiftly; most of the emphasis is on ridiculous Ichabod Crane, like "some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield," captured here in all of his gangly absurdity. Readers craving serious gooseflesh may find this less horrific than they expected, but the humor they discover, effectively interpreted by Grimly, is likely a worthwhile trade. Teachers wanting to share Irving's work aloud will welcome the gently abridged text, even if the small panels won't show well to a crowd; Grimly's arch, gothic sensibility, akin to that of Tim Burton and Edward Gorey, will even attract some high-school readers. Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2007 #6
The tale of the headless horseman, slightly condensed but with language and ambiguities intact, is reimagined here with humor, vigor, clarity, and a healthy grasp of both the universal themes and the period conventions that shaped the original. Ichabod Crane, gangling schoolmaster of a town noted for its somnolence, adores Katrina Van Tassel (for her inheritance as much as for her person, admittedly). After an evening spent trying to prove himself against his competitor, the buff Brom Bones, Ichabod encounters the Headless Horseman on his journey home and is never heard from again -- but what really happened after the horseman hurled his head at the hapless suitor? No one knows, except perhaps Brom, and it's up to readers to draw their own conclusions. Irving's language is challenging, boisterously florid, and most effective when read aloud, but Grimly's numerous Halloween-hued panel and spot illustrations, with their emphatic projection of movement and wildly caricaturized figures, parse it into comprehensible tidbits. The comically amplified emotions and warm yellow and orange tones balance the horror aspects of the text, muting the scare factor for young readers. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2007 July #1
Abridged but not rewritten, the classic tale is decorated with a plethora of very small, comically gothic cartoons that add an air of spooky grotesquerie. An overall color scheme of pale browns and oranges adds a properly autumnal air to Sleepy Hollow's knobby woodlands, and the supporting cast includes nearly as many ghosts, toothy imps and the like as it does human figures. Grimly's not much for verisimilitude--party guests at the Van Tassels include African-Americans, and there's a glimpse of a generic Native American earlier on--but burly "rantipole hero" Brom Bones looks rightly massive next to the exaggeratedly gawky figure of Ichabod Crane. The Headless Horseman not only sports a particularly eerie-looking twig between its shoulders but rides a red-eyed, demonic steed, and in three views on the final page the decayed schoolhouse has a decidedly haunted air. Still, this is not a particularly scary rendition, and because its text is chopped into scattered, easily digestible passages tucked between or inside the panels, it may have more appeal to less-able readers than full versions. (Fantasy. 10-12) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2008 February

Gr 5 Up-- Grimly's interpretation of Irving's classic features quirky, creepy artwork that is strange in all the right ways. Calling to mind R. Crumb's crosshatched, wild-eyed, weirdly proportioned characters, Grimly's Ichabod Crane and the other townspeople are (predictably) grim caricatures. To cast the town in a perpetual twilight, the artist relies on a muted palette of grays, browns, tans, and oranges, which provides ample range and visual variety. The art and the text are not exactly symbiotic; Irving's prose, even with a few modifications, is simply too dense for modern readers. Youngsters may find themselves reading the text and examining the art separately, rather than absorbing both at the same time. More heavily graphic than an illustrated story, but still not quite a graphic novel, and equally at home in juvenile or young adult sections, this inventive but faithful adaptation deserves shelf space in most libraries.--Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC

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