February 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

September 2012 Reviews: Graphic Novels

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ABIRACHED , Zeina. A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return. tr. from French by Edward Gauvin. illus. by author. 192p. diags. maps. CIP. Lerner/Graphic Universe. Sept. 2012. PLB $29.27. ISBN 978-0-7613-8568-4; pap. $9.95. ISBN 978-1-57505-941-9; ebook $21.95. ISBN 978-1-4677-0047-4. LC 201103891.
Gr 5 Up–Zeina and her younger brother are growing up in Beirut, where civil war is a part of daily life. To protect against strikes and sniper fire, the family’s living space has been reduced to the relative security of their apartment foyer, where a rug hanging on the wall, depicting Moses and the Hebrews fleeing Egypt, figures predominantly as a story background. This account chronicles one day in their lives, as the siblings await their parents’ return and neighbors come and spend time with them, building an island of sanctuary for the children during this time of uncertainty. Bold, graphic, black-and-white images are visually and emotionally striking. Excellent use of maps and diagrams provides reference points and enhances understanding of spatial relationships. Unique panel placement includes several sequences of horizontal strips, read as columns. Images portray elapsed time, such as repeated smoking and countdown panels, and control pacing while revealing mounting tension. Excruciating wait time is depicted with cumulative “tic” and “toc” filling successive panels. Circular images of an embracing family contrast with the stark linear images of a war-torn country. Warmth and humor of daily life is shown in baking and storytelling, and wedding-dress close-ups touchingly highlight a mother’s worry over soiling the hem, masking her worry over sniper fire. This superb memoir is destined to become a classic.-Babara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, NY

HATKE , Ben. Legends of Zita the Spacegirl. illus. by author. 224p. First Second. Sept. 2012. pap. $12.99. ISBN 978-1-59643-447-9; Tr $18.99. ISBN 978-1-59643-806-4.
Gr 3-6–Hatke has again conjured up a rich and satisfying story with enchanting characters and delightful humor. Lumponians are seeking Zita’s help to save their planet from the dangerous invasion of star hearts that will strip a planet to its bedrock. Convinced that she is their only hope, they offer as payment the remaining jump crystal that will allow her to return home. They happen upon a robot masquerading as Zita and employ this counterfeit hero to save them. While Zita does save the Lumponians and her rivalry with robot Zita is nicely resolved, the story is obviously a setup for further adventures as she must rescue her companion mouse. Hatke’s humor is in top form, including the creation of dialects with unique spellings and language that perfectly capture the each character’s personality. Even robots have a language. Wordplay is omnipresent, such as names based on musical terms, and the star-hearts invasion being described as a “heart attack.” Inventive sound effects such as “scootch” and “snuffle” and the gift of a “slap in a box” are among the many bon mots youngsters will savor. The characters’ expressive faces are given a charm and attention to detail that will captivate readers of all ages, and the beautifully illuminated images of space inspire awe. Legends offers a parody of celebrity status and gently explores the question of notoriety versus heroism. Fans of Zita’s adventures will relish this installment.–Babara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, NY

MARTÍNEZ , Andrés Vera & Na Liu . Little White Duck: A Childhood in China. illus. by Andrés Vera Martínez. 108p. chron. glossary. CIP. Lerner/Graphic Universe. Oct. 2012. RTE $29.27. ISBN 978-0-7613-6587-7; pap. $9.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-8115-0; ebook $21.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-7963-8. LC 2011005347.
Gr 4 Up–Based on her childhood experiences, Na Liu and her husband have created a rich, multilayered memoir, incorporating history, geography, language, culture, and mythology into eight short stories; then weaving them together to create an exquisite tapestry of life in China during the 1970s. The work follows a logical progression, capturing youthful experiences against a broad Chinese landscape. Background information establishes each story and seamlessly segues into personal reminiscence, with excellent interweaving of each section. For example, the introductory dream sequence features Na Liu and her sister flying on a crane’s back over panoramic China. The first narrative panel depicts the girls’ awakening, with a painting of a white crane visible behind their bed. Mythological origins of New Year transition into an account of the family’s celebration, with red banners and a dragon puppet echoing the colors and patterns from the previous holiday description. Scenes of daily life are juxtapostioned against the political climate, retelling simple stories through comic panels that can be enjoyed by young readers, but also delivering interesting perspectives and biting commentary on social issues. The grim realities of government propaganda, social class, and family dynamics make the memoir even more poignant. Humor, as well as the plays on words, enlivens many of the sections. The children’s expressive faces provide a personal reaction to these contrasting points of view. This picturesque treasure introduces Chinese culture through a personal perspective that is both delightful and thought-provoking.–Babara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, NY

TENNAPEL , Doug. Cardboard. illus. by author. 288p. Scholastic/Graphix. 2012. Tr $24.99. ISBN 978-0-545-41872-0; pap. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-545-41873-7. LC 2011934533.
Gr 4-6–Cam’s unemployed father can only afford a cardboard box for his son’s birthday present. However, this cardboard is special: it animates itself. A cardboard boxer becomes a man called Bill, a magic cardboard machine actually spits out new pieces of magic cardboard, and a figure of Cam’s dead mother chastises his father for not moving on. This cardboard powerfully projects the thoughts and desires of its users and becomes dangerous when Cam’s wealthy, spoiled neighbor, Marcus, uses it to create an army of monsters. Rich colors printed on glossy pages, along with dramatic cuts between panels, give the comic a cinematic feel, and the illustrations’ sharp angles and sinewy lines are striking. This action-filled adventure is not only highly entertaining, but also contains provocative points about the power of imagination. The ending, in which a reformed Marcus has shed his goth stylings and Cam’s father has found a job and a girlfriend, is a little too tidy, but this is a thoughtful and gripping read.–Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library, NY

In this Article
Elementary and Middle School
High School
Jump to
Preschool to Grade 4
Grades 5 and up
Fiction Series Nonfiction

Elementary and Middle School

ADLER, David A. Cam Jansen and the Millionaire Mystery. illus. by Joy Allen. 64p. (Cam Jansen Series). Viking. 2012. Tr $14.99. ISBN 978-0-670-01258-9.
Gr 2-4

ARNOLD, Tedd. There’s a Fly Guy in My Soup. Bk. 12. illus. by author. 32p. (Fly Guy Series). Scholastic/Cartwheel. 2012. Tr $6.99. ISBN 978-0-545-31284-4. LC 201200801. K-Gr 2

BACCALARIO, P. D. Dragon of Seas. Bk. 4. tr. from Italian by Leah D. Janeczko. 302p. (Century Quartet Series). Random. 2012. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-375-85898-7; PLB $20.99. ISBN 978-0-375-95898-4; ebook $10.99. ISBN 978-0-375-89229-5. LC 2011031018. Gr 5-9

BEIL, Michael D. The Secret Cellar. 274p. (The Red Blazer Girls Series). Knopf. Oct. 2012. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-375-86741-5; PLB $20.99. ISBN 978-0-375-96741-2; ebook $10.99. ISBN 978-0-375-89790-0. Gr 5-8

BLACK, Kat. A Templar’s Destiny. Bk. 3. 256p. (The Book of Tormod Series). Scholastic. 2012. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-05677-9. Gr 6-9

COVEN, Wanda. Heidi Heckelbeck in Disguise. Bk. 4. illus. by Priscilla Burris. 128p. (Heidi Heckelbeck Series). S & S/Little Simon. 2012. Tr $14.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-4169-9. LC 201102032. Gr 1-3

COWELL, Cressida. How to Steal a Dragon’s Sword. Bk. 9. 342p. (How to Train Your Dragon Series). Little, Brown. 2012. Tr $12.99. ISBN 978-0-316-20571-9. Gr 3-5

DELANEY, Joseph. Lure of the Dead. Bk. 10. illus. by Patrick Arrasmith. 432p. (The Last Apprentice Series). HarperCollins/Greenwillow. 2012. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-202760-3. LC 2012017728. Gr 5-8

GIFF, Patricia Reilly. Super Surprise. Bk. 6. illus. by Alasdair Bright. 80p. (Zigzag Kids Series). Random/Wendy Lamb Bks. 2012. Tr $12.99. ISBN 978-0-385-73890-3. LC 2011034342. Gr 2-4

GRANT, Michael. The Key. Bk. 3. 288p. (The Magnificent 12 Series). HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-183370-1. LC 2012012715. Gr 4-7

HARRIS, M.G. Zero Moment. 368p. (The Joshua Files Series). Walker. 2012. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-2835-7. LC 2011038058. Gr 5-8

KIBUISHI, Kazu. Prince of the Elves. Bk. 5. illus. by author. 208p. (Amulet Series). Scholastic/Graphix. 2012. Tr $12.99. ISBN 978-0-545-20889-5. LC 2012935527. Gr 4 Up

LEWMAN, David. The Case of the Disappearing Dogs. Bk. 3. 160p. (Club CSI Series). S & S/Simon Spotlight. 2012. Tr $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-4671-7; pap. $5.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-3396-0; ebook $5.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-6689-0. LC 2012931484. Gr 4-7

MCNAMEE, Eoin. The Ghost Roads. 336p. (The Ring of Five Series). Random/Wendy Lamb Bks. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-385-73821-7. LC 2012001197. Gr 5-9

MYKLUSCH, Matt. The End of Infinity. Bk. 3. 416p. (A Jack Blank Adventure). S & S/Aladdin. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-9567-8. LC 2012000861. Gr 5-8

OSBORNE, Mary Pope. A Perfect Time for Pandas. Bk. 48. illus. by Sal Murdocca. 128p. (Magic Tree House Series). Random. 2012. Tr $12.99. ISBN 978-0-375-8626-9. Gr 2-4

PARISH, Herman. Amelia Bedelia Sleeps Over. illus. by Lynne Avril. 32p. (Amelia Bedelia Series). HarperCollins/Greenwillow. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-209524-4; pap. $3.99. ISBN 978-0-06-209523-7. LC 2012006186. Gr 1-3

RIORDAN, Rick. The Serpent’s Shadow. Bk. 3. 416p. (The Kane Chronicles). Hyperion/Disney. 2012. Tr $19.99. ISBN 978-1-4231-4057-3. Gr 4-9

SALISBURY, Graham. Calvin Coconut: Rocket Ride. illus. by Jacqueline Rogers. 150p. Random/Wendy Lamb Bks. 2012. Tr $12.99. ISBN 978-0-385-73965-8; PLB $15.99. ISBN 978-0-385-90799-6; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-0-375-89798-6. Gr 3-4

SOBOL, Donald J. Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Soccer Scheme. illus. by James Bernardin. 128p. (Encyclopedia Brown Series). Dutton. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-525-42582-3. LC 2011049551. Gr 3-5

SOUP, Cuthbert. No Other Story. Bk. 3. illus. by Jeffrey Stewart Timmins. 304p. Bloomsbury. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-824-3. Gr 4-7

TANNER, Lian. Path of Beasts. Bk. 3. 288p. (The Keepers Trilogy). Delacorte. 2012. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-385-73907-8; PLB $20.99. ISBN 978-0-385-90770-5. Gr 4-8

High School

CRAWFORD, Brent. Carter’s Unfocused, One-Track Mind. 304p. Hyperion/Disney. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-14231445-8. LC 2012001231. Gr 7-10

DELSOL, Wendy. Flock. 400p. Candlewick. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-6010-9.
Gr 7 Up

HENDERSON, Jason. The Triumph of Death. Bk. 3. 320p. (The Alex Van Helsing Series). HarperTeen. 2012. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-195103-9. Gr 7 Up

HIGSON, Charlie. The Fear. Bk. 3. 496p. (The Enemy Series). Hyperion/Disney. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781423134237. Gr 7 Up

JOBLING, Curtis. Shadow of the Hawk. Bk. 3. 496p. (Wereworld Series). Viking. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-670-78455-4. Gr 6-8

JORDAN, Sophie. Hidden. Bk. 3. 272p. (A Firelight Novel). HarperCollins/Harper. 2012. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-193512-1; ebook $9.99. ISBN 9780-0-62-19016-1.
Gr 7 Up

MEYER, L. A. Viva Jacquelina! 360p. (Bloody Jack Adventure Series). Houghton Harcourt. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-547-76350-7. Gr 7-9

NORTH, Pearl. The Book of the Night. Bk. 3. 304p. (Libyrinth Trilogy). Tor. 2012. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-7653-2098-8. Gr 9 Up

SLADE, Arthur. Island of Doom. Bk. 4. 308p. (The Hunchback Assignments Series). Random/Wendy Lamb Bks. 2012. Tr $15.99. ISBN 978-0-385-73787-6; PLB $18.99. ISBN 978-0-385-90697-5; ebook $10.99. ISBN 978-0-385-90697-5. Gr 7-10

SHEPARD, Sara. Hide and Seek. Bk. 4. 390p. (The Lying Game Series). HarperTeen. 2012. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-186976-1; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-0-06-208415-6. Gr 9 Up

TIERNAN, Cate. Eternally Yours. 455p. (Immortal Beloved Series). Little, Brown/Poppy. Nov. 2012. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-316-03596-5. Gr 10 Up

Graphic Novels

KROSOCZKA, Jarrett J. Lunch Lady and the Picture Day Peril. Bk. 8. illus. by author. 96p. (Lunch Lady Series). Knopf. 2012. pap. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-375-87035-4. LC 2011047994. Gr 3-5

PEIRCE, Lincoln. Big Nate: Here Goes Nothing. illus. by author. 224p. (Big Nate Series). HarperCollins/Harper. 2012. pap. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-06-20869-9. LC 2012934240. Gr 3-6

SPIRES, Ashley. Binky Takes Charge. Bk. 4. illus. by author. 64p. (A Binky Adventure). Kids Can. 2012. Tr $16.95. ISBN 978-1-55453-703-7; pap. $8.95. ISBN 978-1-55453-768-6. Gr 1-4

STILTON, Geronimo. Return of the Vampire. Bk. 4. illus. by Ivan Bigarella and Daria Cerchi. 128p. (Creepella von Cacklefur Series). Scholastic. 2012. pap. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-545-39348-5. Gr 2-4

VENABLE, Colleen AF. Raining Cats and Detectives. Bk. 5. illus. by Stephanie Yue. 48p. (Guinea PIG, Pet Shop Private Eye Series). Lerner/Graphic Universe. 2012. PLB $27.93. ISBN 978-0-7613-6008-7; pap. $6.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-8541-7. LC 2011021626. Gr 2-4

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