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The Awakening
The Awakening
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Reviewed Titles

The Awakening

In 1984, a teenager finds a cassette on the streets of Tokyo, Japan. At home, the teen sticks the mysterious tape into his Walkman and pushes play. Suddenly, an Oni-like creature awakens deep below the apartment building. It surfaces, seeking out the irritating music and chasing the boy to the rooftop, where both their fates will be decided.

GenreFantasy & Science Fiction
Reading LevelGrades 1-2
Interest LevelGrades 5-9
Lexile LevelGN320L
Text TypeLiterature: Narrative
PublisherStone Arch Books
Page Dimensions5 1/4" x 7 1/2"
Page Count48
BindingReinforced Library Binding
List Price: $25.32 School/Library Price


Reviews - Angie Himmer

"I'm not sure I get the story right. In the second half I sometimes feel that the images weren't put in good order or that I was missing something. So I had to read it twice to understand how it worked. Lemke chose to adopt the Japanese still and folklore in his story so it's not open to all if you don't know for example what an "oni" is. What struck me the most was the techniques he used: the opposition in the colours for each character blue vs red, the cutting of the framework to show that 2 actions were happening simultaneously but from 2 different directions (the 1st half from Yoshiro's point of view, and the second from the oni's side), the fact that the images convey so much meaning that the dialogues are few and useless, that he left them to your own interpretation, etc. You realise how good Lemke is when turning the last page, you're still puzzled because in the end, you get no answer and it's left open to your imagination. ;)" -

June 17, 2011

Bookworm Kitty blog - Madpocky

"This graphic novel can be read in one of three ways—all of which can be interpreted in equally different manners. Scenes are enclosed in blue and red frames, showing Yoshihiro Tanaka’s point of view for the good, and the Oni’s for the evil. There is a note at the beginning of the book saying that the reader can first do all the blue frames before doing the red ones, or vice versa, and read them all together afterwards and see how differently it works each time. Trying to read through the blue and red frames separately only ended up confusing me. I guess this type of reading material does not really work all that effectively when read online since you have to scroll through the whole page and see either the red or blue frames anyway even when you’re reading the opposite color. I appreciated the story more when I read it in full, blue frames, red frames and all. The ending, though, leaves a wide array of interpretations for the readers. Taking from Yoshihiro’s POV, one would think it could’ve all been a dream all along; while seeing the Oni in his own red frame, standing in the same place as Yoshihiro, in a posture that closely matches that of the boy’s may get one thinking differently. Has Yoshihiro been eaten by the Oni? Has Yoshihiro become the Oni? Are those scenes where the Oni awoke to the music from the mysterious cassette tape mere representations of the monster finally awakening within Yoshihiro’s subconscious? Hmm, your guess is as good as mine. As for me, I’d like to view Yoshihiro and the Oni as two separate entities. It’s less confusing that way, and it conforms more to the progressive frames of this graphic novel when read in its entirety—except for that last frame where the Oni’s posture kind of resembles that of Yoshihiro in the previous frame, even holding on to the same cassette tape that the boy has in his left hand. Has Yoshihiro and the Oni fused together when they fell? Or has the monster fallen into some alternate universe? Or are these frames mere indications that Yoshihiro is not the same Yoshihiro from before and has already been overtaken by the monster...? I thought long and hard about how this graphic novel can best be interpreted. But then, I realized, there is no best way to see all this in a single light. I think this story and the way it has been represented intends to form avenues into different lines of thoughts and interpretations. And really, I am more than happy to just leave it at that! :) RATING 3 STARS" - Bookworm Kitty blog

June 25, 2011

Donald Lemke

Donald Lemke

Donald Lemke works as a children’s book editor. He has written dozens of all-age comics and children's books for Capstone, HarperCollins, Running Press, and more. Donald lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his brilliant wife, Amy, toddling toddler, Cleo, and a not-so-golden retriever named Paulie.

Go to the Author’s Page →