Review by Booklist Review
Oscar-nominated film director Folman unequivocally succeeded in transforming one of the world's most beloved books into Anne Frank's Diary: The Graphic Adaptation (2018). In 2021, he debuted a remarkably inventive, companion animated film, Where Is Anne Frank, which now arrives as a gorgeous graphic novel. The cover here clearly indicates continuation: artist Guberman--every page breathtakingly exquisite--brilliantly adapts David Polonsky's original Diary cover, over which she overlays a redheaded teen. Folman's magic realism is immediate: the girl is Kitty, Anne's imaginary friend to whom she addressed her entries. As Anne envisions Kitty's hair, face, eyes, "Ava Gardner's lips," Guberman brings Kitty to twirling life one delightful detail at a time, while Folman grants Kitty an entrancing narrative of her own. Kitty rises out from the diary prominently encased in the Anne Frank House, an international destination museum. Reading summons Anne temporarily--when Anne insists to Kitty, "I don't want you to be Jewish. Period!"--but when Anne mysteriously disappears, Kitty ventures out seeking answers. Anne's legacy seems to be everywhere--on a bridge, in a school, hospital, theater--and yet the need for hiding, even some 75 years later, remains far too prevalent for desperate refugee children and families. As Anne gave Kitty voice, Kitty realizes she must use it to win the safety Anne was denied for others facing a similar fate.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Folman follows up Anne Frank's Diary: The Graphic Adaptation with a fanciful tale that extends Anne's legacy to the contemporary refugee crisis in Europe and is carried off with graceful drawings by Israeli artist Guberman. As tourists line up outside the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, a bolt of lightning strikes Anne's famous diary, bringing her imaginary friend Kitty to life. As the redheaded embodiment of Anne's longing for a companion, Kitty is surprised to learn of Anne's fame and of her death at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945. Kitty balks at a theatrical production that misquotes Anne's belief in human goodness, when Anne's actual diary conveyed fear as well as charm: "What chance do I have of surviving anyway?" Kitty is most disturbed when she follows a skinny, brown-skinned pickpocket named Peter, who introduces her to contemporary refugee families evading deportation in cramped hideouts like the Franks'. Holding the diary hostage from a society that wants to make Anne an icon while ignoring its hypocrisies, Kitty leaps through the streets of Amsterdam. The parallel story of Awa, another young refugee, is brief but weighty, thanks to Guberman's more realistic style on these pages. When Kitty finally returns to a swirl of ink, it's implied she lives on metaphorically whenever people apply the lessons of Anne Frank's life to contemporary situations. The premise steps out on a limb, but it lands a strong message. (Sept.)
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
Anne Frank's imaginary friend, Kitty, springs magically to life. In a graphic-novel adaptation of his 2021 animated film, Israeli director/screenwriter Folman has found a new way to monetize the legacy of Anne Frank. The catalyst for the story's events is--what else?--a burst of lightning, which by striking the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam at precisely the right moment, at precisely the right angle, causes Kitty--the imaginary friend to whom Anne Frank addressed each diary entry--to come to life. In illustrator Guberman's hands, Kitty is red-haired and willowy, with the bland, wide-eyed expression of a typical Disney heroine--and for that matter, so is Anne, who is immediately stripped of all the qualities that made her so singular in her own life and work. Kitty, who can't remember what happened to Anne and the rest of the Frank family, is launched on a series of inane adventures around Amsterdam while she tries to finish reading the diary (as she reads, she's propelled into Anne's memories). In one frame, Anne and Peter van Daan are listening to the radio. They've been growing closer. Meanwhile, Russian forces have broken through Leningrad. In the cel, Anne tips her head coyly toward Peter, her hand to her chin, her eyebrows raised flirtatiously. The caption reads, "One-third of the city's population have died of starvation." It's a moment of bad taste that speaks to Folman's overarching carelessness. In the end, Folman makes his story into a finger-wagging parable about how, at the same time that it profits from Anne Frank's legacy, Europe is now failing the many migrants currently seeking refuge there. That Folman should level this charge, given how shamelessly he has exploited that legacy for his own use, is more than offensive--it borders on the obscene. By turns silly and tedious, exploitative and moralistic, the book fails on all fronts. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.