What is better than a gripping, suspenseful adventure story? One that really happened. Lost on a Mountain in Maine is the real life story of Donn Fendler- a boy who was lost on Mt. Katahdin for nine days. It’s a classic book, and I would venture to say that 99% of Mainers have either read it, or had it read to them in school. This book draws you in as you worry for Donn and wonder how he will survive without food or any idea of where he is on the mountain.
Donn Fendler has teamed up with author Lynn Plourde and illustrator Ben Bishop to present this compelling tale to a new generation. Lost Trail is Donn’s story in graphic novel form. Retelling a classic story as a graphic novel is a big trend right now in children’s literature. It seems that every story that we remember from childhood (The Boxcar Children, The Little Prince, etc.) is being re-released in this way. Personally, I feel that some of these graphic novels are unnecessary. The Little Prince, for example, originally featured beautiful illustrations in the margins of the pages, making a separate graphic novel superfluous, in my opinion.
However, Lost on a Mountain in Maine was the perfect choice for a graphic novel adaptation. The story is fast paced and there are strong visual elements such as Donn’s badly swollen feet and the rushing rapids he must traverse. The book is broken up by days–one section for each day Donn was lost in the wild. Each section begins with a newspaper clipping from The Bangor Daily News about Donn’s disappearance and the search party that did not want to give up. I felt that this was a nice touch because it presented the story from another angle and showed the reader what Donn’s parents and friends were going through.
Donn Fendler and Lynn Plourde succeeded in adapting the story for a graphic novel while maintaining the spirit of the tale. Ben Bishop’s black and white illustrations make the story come to life in a new way that young graphic novel fans will appreciate.
If you have never read Lost on a Mountain in Maine, I encourage you to read it and then read Lost Trail. It would be a great way for teachers to compare and contrast novels and graphic novels. Mainers who love the original book will also get a lot out of the graphic novel version.
Recommendation: 5 out of 5 lupines