Monday, September 14, 2009

Graphic Novels

I've been reading graphic novels of late and thought I'd comment on some of them. There's such a range, whether that's age level or seriousness. I've found it to be an interesting genre altogether.

Bone: Out from Boneville

by Jeff Smith

ISBN: 0963660993

Bone. What do I say about Bone? I've heard so much about this series and was pretty excited to finally get to read it. The illustrations play a key role in this graphic novel extraordinaire. What amazing art for simple line work! And I'm going to really get into the illustrations a bit here because I had a unique experience. Upon seeing that my library's copy was going to be out for a while, I had mentioned waiting for it in front of a librarian friend who volunteered her personal copy. Not more than a day or two had gone by and the library copy showed up on my desk. But they were different, way different. The personal copy had color illustrations, the library copy, black and white. I kept one at home and one on my desk at work for breaks. There was such a difference between the two, and I found myself enjoying the black and white copy so much more. I'm usually into rich texture and color, so was surprised by my reaction. I found that in the color illustrations, the backgro
und became just that: background. In the black and white, I noticed everything, especially some of the little details in the background. My reaction was just a resounding, "Huh!". And I don't have a better word now, either. Just that. I do have to say, although there were some really great humorous moments in the book (like the snow), I wasn't that blown away by the plot. It wasn't that complex, not that it needed to be. And maybe that's just it. Who needs complexity? Maybe for this book simple black and white and a simple plot makes it just perfect. After I got done, I wanted to go talk to the people that I knew had read the book just to get their reactions. Mine: "Huh!" Yours: Please let me know.

Babymouse: Queen of the World

by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

ISBN: 0375832297

Babymouse is tired of her same-old boring life. She wants fame! She wants fortune! She wants tasty snacks!!! And the way to do that is to get in good standing with Felicia Furrypaws. How far will she go to be “Queen of the World”? The Babymouse series is a graphic novel series. I love the
simple black and white pictures with a little pink sprinkled here and there. And Babymouse has a great imagination, like when she imagines she's taking on the giant squid from a movie. This is the first in the series. There's a whole bunch more!

The Arrival

by Shaun Tan

ISBN: 0439895294

The Arrival is a totally wordless graphic novel. So, what the story is about is totally up to what the "reader" sees and thinks is happening in the pictures. I think it's about a man who has to leave his family because war (or some other bad thing) has come to their town. He goes to another place, totally foreign to him, to find a way to help his family. He meets people along the way who tell him their story, even though he doesn't know the language well, and he finds out that this strange land

isn't as strange as he thought it was. There are a lot of people like him.

I really want to know what other people think about this book. Since there are no words, I think 10 different people could read this book and come up with a different story of sorts. I interpreted the wavy monster arms as "war" but I wonder what others would see it as. It truly could be anything. The pictures make

me think of sci-fi movies, but they have a rustic feel too that makes me think of earlier times in our country, like in a time period when so many people were coming to the United States from Europe. The author gives us a true idea of what it might be like as an immigrant. And there are pets. I like the pets. At first, I thought the pet that found the man was more like a cat. But later in the book, I decided it seemed more like a dog to me. What do you think?

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute

by Jarrett J Krosoczka


I just about died laughing while I read this book. And then I toted it around for a couple of weeks and approached people with a goofy grin on my face saying, "You have to read this book! Hee hee hee!" with book outstretched in offering. I'm sure they thought I needed to visit the loony bin, but if you read this book, you just might find yourself doing the exact same thing.

"What do you suppose she does? You know, when she's not a lunch lady?"
"Maybe she has a family to take care of."
"I bet she has like a hundred cats!"
"Maybe she's some sort of super-secret agent spy or something..."
This last statement is met with unbelieving looks that translate to "Yeah, right."

But little do they know, that the Lunch Lady turns superheroine in her spare time, with the help of her super-savvy lunch lady assistant, Betty, who sets her up with gadgets such as the spatu-copter she is "Serving justice! And serving lunch!" As the Lunch Lady serves up chicken patty pizza, she notices that something's not quite right about the substitute teacher in for Mr. O'Connell. And isn't it odd that Mr. O'Connell is ill after 20 years of no sick days? So, after a bit of surveillance in her Boiler Room lair, Lunch Lady is on the case!

You seriously just have to pick up this book!!! Go! Now! And ask your library to buy it, if they haven't already.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


by Sherri L. Smith

ISBN: 0399247092

As the cover says, "All Ida Mae Jones wants to do is fly. Her daddy was a pilot, and even years after his death, her connection to him feels strongest when she's in the air. But in 1940s Louisiana, being black and being a woman are two strikes against her, no matter how light-skinned she might be." But then Ida Mae learns of the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots). And yet, there's no way that they would take someone that's black. Is her skin light enough that she could pass for white? What happens if she's found out after the fact? Even with all the risk, Ida Mae decides she has to try, if only for the fact that she would be "doing something" for the war effort and get to fly as a bonus.

I really enjoyed this book. I learned so much about the air portion of the war and what went on stateside. You hear about the battles overseas and the food rationing in the states, but not so much about this part of it. In my library this book is located in the YA area. I think it would be fine for middle school readers, although the main character is in her early twenties. In order for the story to happen at all, she has to be that old to enlist in the army. But all the same, there are some semi-adult situations, such as the main character's colleagues drinking in the bar. So, recommended for adults, young adults, and middle-schoolers, with a caution on a few scenes containing drinking and minimal romance.


About Me

I'm a children's librarian and mother of two preschoolers. On the side, I play soccer, bike, scrapbook, crochet, and read an obscene amount of children's books.