Summertime And the Living is… Horrifying?

Graphic Fridays- Brain Camp by Susan Kim, Laurence Klavan, & Faith Erin Hicks

(Grades 8-12) Jenna and Lucas are losers- at least that’s what their parents think. So when they send them to Camp Fielding (“America’s best new educational summer camp!”) for the summer, the hope is that they’ll return ready to go to Yale, or at least pass the SAT with flying colors. But something amiss is going on at Camp Fielding. Why are some campers failing miserably at the strange, higher-level-thinking activities while others are succeeding beyond expectations? Why are those who are doing well acting a little too much like zombies- really smart zombies? And why are some campers disappearing in the middle of the night, after they try the odd, pink-colored ice cream at dinner? These and more questions abound as Jenna and Lucas form a reluctant friendship to figure out what’s going on. The odds are stacked against them, however, Continue reading

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Island’s Behaving Badly

Sorry, couldn’t resist the title. And no, since there’s technically only one island in this book, that’s no typo 🙂

Graphic Fridays: Bad Island by Doug TenNapel

Another summer tale for you! This time, the frequently retold family-vacation-gone-wrong story, with a SciFi twist 🙂

(3rd-8th grade) The last thing that Reese wants to do this summer is go on a boating trip with his dorky dad, botany-obsessed mother and annoying, snake-loving little sister. He’d rather stay home and play football with his friends and live the supervision-free life that every teenager dreams of. But his dad shoehorns him into going anyway because they all need some “family time.” They get more than they bargained for, however, when a freak storm sinks their ship and Continue reading

Janet Lee’s Wonderfully Dapper Tale

Graphic Fridays: Return of the Dapper Men by Jim McCann; illustrated by Janet Lee

(Grades 4 & Up) Tick… tock… tick… tock… Click. Time has stopped on the world of Anorev and the inhabitants, caught in a day with no sunset, have forgotten their purpose. The machines that live above ground keep plodding away at pointless tasks and the children, who can never grow old, have moved underground to their own, demented Neverland. Endless play, endless work; an unpalatable staleness perpetuates the world and no one wonders if there is anything else. Except for Ayden and Zoe, two young companions: one human, one robot. They have a feeling that behind the baited breath of their world there is something waiting to happen- if they could only figure out what. Then, with the clanging of an immense clock, Continue reading

Hera’s Glory

Graphic Fridays: Hera: The Goddess and Her Glory by George O’Connor

The third installment in this ongoing series about the fabled Olympians, Hera is probably the best yet. And that’s saying something: the others are Good.

When Zeus takes on Hera as his first (and only) wife, he gets a whole lot more than he bargained for. Unlike his previous queens (none of which he ever married), Hera refuses to tolerate his straying ways and exacts justice on Zeus and his mistresses in creative ways. She is particularly annoyed at one of Zeus’ most famous children: Heracles (or Hercules, as many of us know him). It is the relationship between these two characters that is the driving force behind the plot of this book.

In return for nursing him as a baby and saving his life, Hera requires that, as an adult, Heracles must suffer twelve labors in order to take his place on Olympus with the rest of the gods. And so the story of these labors unfolds and we, as readers, Continue reading

Amelia Rules: If ‘Peanuts’ Went to Middle School

Graphic Fridays- Amelia Rules! Superheroes by Jimmy Gownley

Superheroes is the third book in the Amelia Rules! series and although it is not the latest, it is possibly my favorite- and an excellent jumping on point for any of you wishing to start reading this series, which I recommend that you do if you like wonderful characters, solid writing, snortin’ good humor, and heart-wrenching moments all rolled into one. And who doesn’t? All zombies reading this post, refrain from replying, please. I see you out there, don’t think I don’t!

As Amelia says in the first couple pages, “There is nothing in the world like the last day of school… it feels like time is standing still.” She and her friends are on the cusp of summer vacation and all the breathy magic that entails. Continue reading

Guinea PI: Hamster and Cheese

Guinea PI: Hamster and Cheese by Colleen AF Venable; illustrated by Stephanie Yue
New books! One of the best parts about being a librarian is getting that brand-spanking new budget all ready to go and finally ordering those new books you’ve been salivating over for the past few months. Then, when the day arrives and you see that big brown box full of wonderful new stories… it’s like Christmas, but better- there are no awkward gifts to sort through, you got everything you asked for this time. For me, a brand new box of graphic novels is especially exciting because I know that every single one of them is going to circulate, and circulate a lot. And since kids comics just seem to be getting better and better these days, they’re helping to create a new generation of readers brought up on quality material who can’t help but fall in love with reading because of the sheer joy they get from it.
Anyway, enough heavy stuff… on to the review. One of the first titles to pop out of the box when I opened it up was Colleen AF Venable’s Guinea PI: Hamster and Cheese. This one is the first in a series (no worries, I ordered all four that are currently in existence), and from what I can tell, we’re off to a good, humorous start. Continue reading

Sidekicks

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Graphic Fridays: Sidekicks by Dan Santat

From the jacket flap: “Captain Amazing, hero of Metro City, is so busy catching criminals that he rarely has time for his pets at home. He doesn’t even notice when they develop super powers of their own.

So when he announces that he needs a sidekick, his dog, hamster, and chameleon each decide to audition. But with each pet determined to win the sidekick position, the biggest battle in Metro City might just be at the Captain’s house.

Then archvillain Dr. Havoc returns to town, and suddenly the Captain’s in serious trouble. Can the warring pets put their squabbles aside? Or is it curtains for the Captain?”

Sounds like a fairly stereotypical superhero story, doesn’t it? And on one level, it is. In this fun romp of a story, just like Pixar did with The Incredibles, creator Dan Santat is playing with common superhero stereotypes (as well as pet stereotypes, animal stereotypes, friendship stereotypes, etc.) in order to give everyone something they’re familiar with and provide a springboard for the subtle humor woven throughout these pages. Because we’re all on the same page when the story begins, Mr. Santat can take us deeper to tell us a story about relationships and how important the connections we establish with each other are. Continue reading