Your librarians have been checking out the JGRAPHIC section! Take a look at what we read:
Babymouse: Queen of the World by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
I have had so many requests for the Babymouse series, which I can spot on the shelf from a distance because of the pink-and-black covers, that I decided to read one. The book was really entertaining, with simple, mostly black-and-white illustrations. In this story, Babymouse wants desperately to be invited to a slumber party given by snooty, popular Felicia Furrypaws. Surely then she will fit in and be well liked. At first she is the only one who doesn’t receive an invitation. Then, after she lets Felicia use her book report as her own (since of course Felicia hasn’t done hers), she is begrudgingly handed an invitation. Babymouse has a previous arrangement to watch movies with her friend Wilson the Weasel, but she breaks that date to attend the supposedly glamorous sleepover. The party isn’t really very much fun. Felicia Furrypaws and her wannabes spend the evening painting their nails, gossiping about classmates, and watching a boring movie. Babymouse wishes she were watching great movies with Wilson. At the end she realizes her own life is really terrific and that she can be Queen of the World!
-Mrs. Nancy S.
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
I read the graphic novel edition of The Lightning Thief. I chose this because I am a big fan of Rick Riordan and the “Percy Jackson” series, so I wanted to see it in a different format. I enjoyed it because it was colorful, and it was easy to see watch the conversation take place. I felt a little more engaged in the material this way. Having this be a popular book that I like, I was disappointed with that fact that so much has to be left out, to make it a reasonably sized piece. Graphic novels are a good way to engage a struggling reader because dialog is so much easier for some children than just looking at writing.
Lily Renee, Escape Artist by Trina Robbins
I was planning to review a volume of Chi’s Sweet Home for this assignment, but then I saw Lily Renee, Escape Artist on the new books cart. It is a biography by Trina Robbins, who has written comics and nonfiction about women in comics. This is the first time I have seen her turn the biography of a comic book artist into a comic for young readers.
The quality of the comic is much better than the typical nonfiction series book in graphic novel format. The pictures have actual settings and backgrounds and the figures are well-drawn (although Lily’s eyes are sometimes brown and sometimes green). The story reads smoothly because the panels are laid out well. No unnecessary captions repeat what the pictures and dialogue already make clear (although there are historical notes at the end of the book).
Lily’s story starts happily when she is a little girl in Austria. Things quickly go downhill for her family and other Jews when the Nazis invade. Lily is able to take advantage of one of the few opportunities to get out of the country, although she has to do it without her parents. The teenager faces a series of overwhelming situations (a resentful host family, trying to find jobs for her parents so they can get visas, the Blitz, being declared an “enemy alien”). Eventually, she and her parents (although not the entire family) make it safely to America.
Lily finds work as quickly as possible, taking a number of jobs that make use of her artistic skills. She starts out making very little money, so it seems worth it to try for a more lucrative position drawing comics–even though she has to buy her very first comic book to get an idea what the publisher wants. She is not familiar enough with the business to know that comic book artists are expected to be men. Her talent wins her a position, and she draws Nazi-fighting heroines. At the end of the book, she is still alive today, enjoying her art.
Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett Krosoczka
I haven’t read too many graphic novels but this junior graphic novel was a fun read. The Lunch Lady is the next Superman; she is out to fight all the evil substitutes in school. Are there really evil substitutes in school? Kids can really relate to this book as everyone has come across a Lunch Lady in their school cafeteria. This is a series book and it would be fun to follow the Lunch Lady’s escapades. This novel is for 7 and up and it will keep you interested to the end and make you want to read the next book.
-Ms. Nancy L.
Smile by Raina Telgemeier
This is a true story of when Raina trips and hits the cement so hard that she knocks out her two front teeth. What follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, headgear, and a retainer (plus she has to deal with an earthquake). This is a charming graphic novel of tooth trauma, first crushes and fickle friends. It is a must read whether you have braces or not. Do not miss this very delightful funny true story.