An Apple Books Classic edition.
Herman Melville’s classic begins with one of the most famous opening lines in world literature: “Call me Ishmael.” Moby Dick was a commercial failure when it was first published in 1851, but during the 20th century, the book’s reputation grew and grew.
The novel features a memorable cast of characters, in particular the ivory-legged Captain Ahab, who lost a limb to the gargantuan white whale named Moby Dick. Now, Ahab’s sole obsession is hunting down the sea creature to exact his revenge. Heedless of warnings, Ahab risks ship and crew in his maniacal pursuit, bearing out Melville’s observation that ”there is no folly of the beast of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men.”
Note to children: this is not Melville's Moby Dick. Drummond (The Willow Pattern Story) has transformed the tome of American Lit into a quick-reading, kid-friendly whale of a tale. His inviting approach (which emanates from his obvious love for the story) involves ruthless editing and nonthreatening visuals. He uses pen and pale washes of color (punctuated by just enough red whale gore to suggest the seriousness of the sport) in a cartoonish style and conversation bubbles with handwritten contents to cleverly convey the episodic quality of the text. Ishmael narrates the story here, too, and chapter headings for each spread aid the story's clarity and momentum. Amazingly, the plot is complete in these 32 pages and includes many of the most fascinating details of the mechanics of whaling. Although some children may have trouble with some of the more adult themes (the fact that this is a revenge mission for Ahab, Queequeg builds himself a coffin and only Ishmael survives), whale and sea lovers will learn a great deal (especially in the concluding author's note). By cagily approaching this classic with a light, non-reverential touch, Drummond may predispose a new generation of readers toward experiencing the original work (that they might otherwise only encounter only in Cliffs Notes). Ages 5-up.