I’ve been meaning to read Castellucci for some time now. Since this new one got a lot of buzz, I figured it might be an OK place to start. Now, I think I might be hooked.
This is the story of a girl named Tessa who is, this year, just old enough to go to the town’s carnival without parental supervision. Tessa is still stuck taking her younger sister, Lulu, along with her and her friends. Tessa isn’t happy about it, but it’s better than having their parents along. There’s a boy, you see, and Tessa hopes to find an excuse for them to wind up alone and subsequently in a relationship. The group goes to the freak show and circumstances conspire to connect Lulu with Tessa’s crush. Tessa is naturally disappointed, maybe even jealous, but she loves her sister and acknowledges the happiness that the new relationship brings to the pair. The sisters now run in the same circle of friends, but tragedy strikes and Tessa begins to see herself as a monster.
The structure of this novel is quite unusual. It alternates between traditional prose and graphic novel format. The timeline is not presented as linear, which initially makes the comic section seem like a fantasy or dream but eventually gives it a potency that makes one’s heart hurt. Sublime and unique, this is a fabulous novel that deserves all the accolades it gets.
I’ve been meaning to read Castellucci for some time now. Since this new one got a lot of buzz, I figured it might be an OK place to start. Now, I think I might be hooked.
Zita and her friend Joseph find a meteorite hole with a strange button. Zita, being the curious girl she is, pushes the button. Joseph is sucked through a portal. Zita follows him to a strange world that is on the brink of annihilation by an asteroid. Zita must find Joseph before the planet is destroyed. Along the way she meets a unique cast of characters: battle bot One, giant mouse Mouse, broken down robot Randy and Strong Strong (not sure what he is other than an alien!). They set off to rescue Joseph from the Scriptorians at the Castle. The Scriptorians think Joseph is the savior who will destroy the asteroid.
I really enjoyed Zita. She is spunky and ready for adventure. Her friends are equally as entertaining. I think this is a great graphic novel for middle grades, especially girls.
Channel Zero is a very early work by Brian Wood (of DMZ fame). How I managed to read two books in a row regarding pirate media (I just read Cory Doctorow’s excellent “Pirate Cinema”) is beyond me, but I regret nothing. This graphic novel was written in the ’90′s, but still feels fresh and relevant today. Perhaps even more so. In the world of Channel Zero, the US has passed “The Clean Bill”, which restricts all media to that which is deemed “appropriate” by the US government. Everything is censored and filtered through approved outlets, which means that the American public is not only denied perspective, they are denied their first amendment rights. Jennie 2.5 is pissed off. She’s mad enough to commandeer the equipment and security necessary to interrupt state-sponsored broadcasts with her own incendiary pirate broadcasts. She quickly becomes a cult hero to the people and the state’s biggest enemy.
Stylistically, this is one of the more original graphic novels I’ve come across. The solid black and white makes for a jarring and stark narrative. Jennie’s story is interspersed with government propaganda and bios of her successors. The story is not entirely linear, but it works in this context. It also makes me want to go finish reading the rest of DMZ. I swear Brian Wood might just be a touch psychic and I feel as though I ought to be prepared.
I love cats and can’t imagine my life without my kitty. Chi’s Sweet Home shows what happens when a kitten appears in your life. It accurately portrays how a kitten behaves and how its humans’s lives change because of having a cat. I loved it! I think the drawings are wonderful and truly tell the story. I love that the book is told from the point of view of the cat, who is just precious. I think this is a wonderful graphic book for kids and I can see why the series is popular.
Rick and Carl have escaped from the prison massacre and made their way back to the farm with Michonne. There they find Andrea and Dale and Maggie and Glen and the kids. Soon they join another group who are heading to Washington to find the remnants of the government. Along the way the pick up Morgan, who we haven’t seen since the first issue, and Father Gabriel. They also encounter zombies and cannibals. They end up at the Community, a place that is trying to rebuild society; a place a little like Woodbury without the violent dictator. The Rick Grimes gang has to find a way to fit into this new society. Can they leave the violence of the open road behind? Can they become normal again?
This series grabs you and really doesn’t ever let go. I find myself so invested in these characters that I don’t want to stop reading. This series is about more than zombies; it is about what it means to be human and retaining your humanity when you are forced to do terrible things. I especially enjoyed that this edition explored the relationships of our survivors. Carl and Rick are dealing with the death of Lori and how Carl is growing up in this world. Maggie and Glen’s relationship has its ups and downs as the apocalypse and its consequence drags them down. There is a lot of heartbreak in this book but there is also hope. Hope that they can survive and rebuild. I really like that this book ended on an upbeat note, but I am sure our band of survivors will be kicked down again before long.
My one complaint about this series is the drawings. I love the text and think it really conveys the story well. It is sparse and haunting and real. However, I don’t think this is the best drawn book. I found myself confused as to which character was in the frame as several of them look very similar. When Jesus appeared I was thoroughly confused thinking we had already met him, but then I realized he looks a lot like the Governor. I don’t know if it is the lack of color or just a lack of skill, but I wish the illustrations were better. Of course there are panels that will blow you away and suck you into the story; it is really just the characters that I have a problem with.
This is a very interesting collection of stories that could be shared with children (if they are not easily scared). Actually, the stories are not as scarey as the pictures. Animals are involved in many stories and often a good lesson is taught or wise advice given. “A Storyteller is not only a teller of stories, but a collctor of them as well.”
This is the mostly-true story of a teenaged girl who checked herself into a mental institution and got stuck there until realizing that she has to actively try to get better. Stacy had already been to rehab for her drug use, but it didn’t stop the depression. Now that she’s in the hospital, she’s falling back into old habits; withdrawing and withholding. It takes months and several different hair cuts before Stacy begins to open up and begin to talk. When she finally did, she turned it into a comic.
The main storyline is interspersed with questions about Stacy directed at her friends (2 from her old life, one from rehab and one who is currently in the same hospital). These little vignettes provide insight into Stacy’s life; insight that would be very difficult to come by without and alternate perspective. It’s clear that her friends care about her, but none of them are perfect either. Stacy’s voice rings true and her plight is relate-able. This is graphic novel that the vast majority of teens could benefit from reading, even if they don’t suffer from any form of mental illness.
Maggie has been home-schooled her entire life and now that her mother is no longer in the picture, Maggie is set to begin public school. Her three brothers have already undergone this transition and encourage her to go it alone; calling the move to public school a “rite of passage”. Maggie is freaked. It definitely doesn’t help that she’s being followed around by a ghost.
School winds up being a bit of a social minefield. The only people that talk to Maggie are a pair of outcast siblings that Maggie’s eldest brother doesn’t seem to trust. Maggie’s never had any friends outside of her brothers before, so the tension between her new friends and some of the other kids at school proves both distressing and slightly confusing for her. And then, there’s still the whole ghost thing. And the absent mother-thing. Maggie’s life is a bit stressful.
Great graphic novel with totally believable characters. It’s great to see an outsider’s perspective of the public high school scene, which, through Maggie’s eyes, is appropriately overwhelming. She’s got a lot to deal with and still wants to help everyone at the same time. Odds are good that just about anyone who’s ever been through high school will be able to relate to Maggie’s transition. Home-schoolers will likely be happy to find a cool character that actually loved being home-schooled and isn’t a complete fish out of water with her peers.
Can I just say how much I adore Vaughan’s work? Seriously, I haven’t read anything by him that disappoints. Saga, his newest series, his no exception. In fact, it might even be my new favorite of his. It’s a sci-fi fairy tale, complete with star-crossed lovers and their offspring. It may just be the beginning, but I’m already hooked and can’t wait until this comes out in print. Completely original and imaginative.
Have you ever wondered what Batman and Robin would be like British? Even if you haven’t, this is a good graphic novel for you. Knight and Squire is about the British version of Batman and Robin and the villains they battle. In this particular tale, villains and heroes meet at a secret bar to talk about old times. The bar has a magical barrier which keeps the peace between the foes but what would happen if the magic disappeared……read and find out.
An illustrated side by side comparisons of the lives of former slave Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln from boyhood through Lincoln’s assassination. The beliefs they shared, what they disagreed on, how each disappointed the other from time to time but both worked towards the mutual goal of abolishing slavery. That was Douglass’ primary goal and while it was also Lincoln’s goal he also believed that as president he literally had a sworn duty to uphold and preserve the country. A concise, beautifully drawn graphic novel that packs lots of information in a few pages
A moving story of one woman’s day to day life after losing her husband in the 9/11 attacks. This graphic novel backs the events of September 11th a personal tragedy rather than just a national tragedy. Gripping and beautifully told but difficult to read at times. But how could any true story accurately depicting that day not move one to tears?
Captain Amazing is getting older and needs to recruit a sidekick. His pets all want the job: Roscoe the dog, Fluffy the hamster, Shifty the chameleon and old sidekick Manny the cat. Together the animals start fighting crime to prove to Captain Amazing that they are the perfect sidekicks.
This is a perfect superhero story for kids. The animal sidekicks are cute and fun and had a lot of humor to the story. I love the other superheroes and how they reference famous heroes from other stories. I thought the villain was good and the fights had just enough action for kids. Wonderful illustrations and a great story.
With all of the negative media attention the Middle East has gotten lately, it is sometimes hard to separate the good people from the evil. Zahra’s Paradise, although fictional, is a good way to bring what is happening over there back into perspective. This story served as a representation of what many Iranian families went through during the revolution and are going through now under a corrupted Islamic Republic. Most of the Middle East we see in the media is a bunch of angry extremists yelling and marching and burning the American flag. This story is an attempt to show Iranians are a compassionate people (no matter their religion, age, or sex) and have a strong desire to live in freedom. Their leaders are the ones who have turned religion into a cover for gaining wealth and power. Not everyone in Iran likes their country, not even Muslims as the book reveals, but they are forced to, or risk possible prison time or execution.
Basically, this heart-wrenching story is about a mother and her son (the narrator) who journey together throughout Tehran in search of Mehdi, their son and brother. Along the way, the reader is introduced to the horrors of Iran. From prisons to hospitals, morgues to cemeteries, the reader is reminded that what is shown on American news is unrelated to what Iranians go through every day. Most have no time to “hate America” or protest in the streets about the Western world. The book actually makes light of this generalization at some point. Many, as we do here in the US, are simply trying to live. What this book does is show that humanity lies even in the darkest corners of the world despite the way it is represented as a whole.
The two authors withholding their names (for very obvious reasons) kind of makes the fear Iranians live in every day that much more realistic for me. In the end of the book is a large list of people who have died under the Islamic Republic. Kinda goes to show that as far as the effects of war on a country go, we haven’t even seen the tip of the iceberg yet domestically.
Tina is having a period of existential solitude. She’s just been “dumped” by her best friend and now sits alone at lunch. She has trouble identifying with her classmates, who all seem to fit into neat, tidy groups, and her large Indian-American family. She begins keeping a diary as part of her English Honors project and addresses her entries to the existential heavyweight, Jean-Paul Sartre. Tina finds herself stepping out of her comfort zone to take a break from her solitude. She ends up starring in the school play (Rashomon…must be a pretty progressive school) and going on bike rides with her crush, Neil. It’s all going well until she realizes how much kissing will be required of her in the play and all of it with a boy she finds disgusting. The one boy she wants to kiss does not appear to be nearly as interested in Tina as he is in the idea of Tina (he constantly grills her for information about Buddhism in spite of Tina’s identifying with atheism), so that’s not going so well either.
Tina’s journey is strikingly realistic and always told in a playful fashion. Tina is a lot of things, many of contradict. She loves her family, but is annoyed by their insular nature. She is bitter about stereotypes, but is willing to overlook them when it comes to that elusive kiss. Tina is like a lot of young women trying to reconcile their identities with their place in the world. Through her writing, Tina realizes some important truths about herself; truths that will likely resonate intellectual teens. A fun, smart read.
Mike is an out of work construction worker single father. He has no money for his son Cam’s birthday. He ends up buying a cardboard box and together they create a cardboard man who comes to life. Soon they are creating all kinds of cardboard things. But mean kid Marcus is jealous of Cam’s cardboard creations and steals the cardboard creator. He creates monsters who take on a life of their own. Soon cardboard is running wild and terrorizing Marcus, Cam, Mike and the rest of the neighborhood. They have to band together to stop the cardboard creations before it is too late.
This is an interesting morality tale about being happy with what you have, making changes for the better in your life, and not letting darkness and despair run your life. I think it is a little too heavy handed on the morality lessons but there is enough monsters and mayhem that I think kids will enjoy this.
So chocolate or vanilla? Your choice determines the path you take in this inventive little book. Jason Shiga has to have a twisty mind to keep all these stories straight. I used to love choose your own adventure books when I was a kid but I haven’t read one in ages. This is a different take on choose your own adventure. I loved it. Each decision leads to a different outcome and it is all told in a twisty-turny, timey-whimy way. I am not sure how it was written but it was fun to read.
Drawing on the unique historical sites, archives, expertise, and unquestioned authority of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, New York Times bestselling authors Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón have created the first authorized and exhaustive graphic biography of Anne Frank. This is a concise introduction to not only Anne Frank and her family but history of Nazism, concentration camps, general history of WWII and how the conflict spread as well as the years immediately after the war. I had not realized prior to reading this the first concentration camp built and opened in Germany was to house German citizens who opposed the Nazi parties new policies.
Did you know zombies hate sock monkeys? but they like teddy bears. Seriously how can anybody not like sock monkeys???? Zombies also hate rain and nudity and santa. But don’t worry because they like mimes and celery and disco. But don’t even get them started on clowns or unicorns. Most of all zombies love you!
What a fun little book. I really enjoyed the illustrations and the lists. Easy to read this tiny treasure; takes about a minute. So pick it up and enjoy!