February 25, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Graphic Novel Fan-Favorites and the Odd Duck | JLG’s On the Radar

Babymouse is back, and she’s taking things to the extreme. Other familiar characters return, and even an odd duck appears in this year’s release of graphic novels for elementary school students. Check out the new arrivals selected by Junior Library Guild’s editorial staff.

Odd DuckCASTELLUCCI, Cecil. Odd Duck. illus. by Sara Varon. First Second. 2013. ISBN 9781596435575. JLG Level: GE : Graphic Novels Elementary (Grades 2–6).

Theodora was content with her life and an interruption like her messy new neighbor could mean nothing but trouble. Chad is, after all, quite different. He is a crazy dancer who splashes when he swims. She keeps a teacup on her head during swimming to practice her posture. He hammers away at his yard art projects, while she quietly sips her tea. An injured wing keeps Chad from flying south for the winter, and Theodora prefers the quiet, so she never flies. Thrown together, the two neighbors become friends until they learn that one of them is an odd duck. Which one is it? Should it make a difference in a friendship? Readers will embrace these new characters embellished with Varon’s charming illustrations―no matter what their quirk.

Bright ideas Benjamin BearCOUDRAY, Philippe. Bright Ideas! Candlewick/Toon Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781935179221. JLG Level: GE : Graphic Novels Elementary (Grades 2–6).

Benjamin Bear returns with his rabbit friend in one-page comic adventures about their world. Rabbit needs to cross the river, so Benjamin builds him a bridge. Instead of using the new structure, he jumps over the bridge and the river. In “Sharing,” rabbit and porcupine argue over the ownership of a ball. When it hits Benjamin in the nose during his nap, they generously give the ball away rather than own the ball that hit an angry bear. Humor fills every page of this easy reader graphic novel. Each story’s conclusion will keep readers pondering.

Extreme babymouseHOLM, Jennifer L. and Matthew Holm. Extreme Babymouse. Random. 2013. ISBN 9780375970962. JLG Level: GE : Graphic Novels Elementary (Grades 2–6).

Babymouse wants to be like everyone else, so she begs her mom to go snowboarding. Learning to keep her balance, stopping with no brakes, and avoiding bumps leave her with pain more than anything else. Her coach advises listening to her inner voice. Peer pressure challenges her to ski the bigger hill and take the longest jump. Getting to the bottom of the mountain is more than a challenge. It’s extreme. Will Babymouse let her friends coerce her into poor decisions? Fans of the series will appreciate the humorous illustrations that often speak louder than words.

Squish: Game onHOLM, Jennifer L. and Matthew Holm. Squish: Game On! Random. 2013. ISBN 9780307983008. JLG Level: GE : Graphic Novels Elementary (Grades 2–6).

“Just one more level,” is the cry of an avid gamer. Finding a stopping place is almost impossible, and Squish finds it difficult to stop for friends, food, and schoolwork. With a book report due, four school tardies, and no costume prepared for the Comic Convention, gaming has consumed his life. Can he stop his obsession? Will he find a balance in his life? Book 5 in the series leaves the reader laughing while learning an important life lesson.

Lunch Lady Video Game VillainKROSOCZKA, Jarrett J. Lunch Lady and the Video Game Villain. Knopf. 2013. ISBN 9780307980809. JLG Level: GE : Graphic Novels Elementary (Grades 2–6).

Someone is stealing the technology at Thompson Brook School―and just before the new superintendent arrives for inspection. Lunch Lady is determined to find the culprit, while Hector runs for class president against his vote-buying competitor. When the boys do some investigation, it appears that the cyborg substitute teacher is back. How can that be when Mr. Edison is in jail? Is there a new villain in town? Can the Lunch Lady save the day while preventing the cafeteria from failing the inspection? A cliff-hanger conclusion will have fans of the series anticipating Book Ten.

Junior Library Guild is a collection development service that helps school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Season after season, year after year, Junior Library Guild book selections go on to win awards, collect starred or favorable reviews, and earn industry honors. Visit us at www.JuniorLibraryGuild.com.


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Deborah B. Ford About Deborah B. Ford

Deborah is the Director of Library Outreach for Junior Library Guild. She is an award-winning teacher librarian with almost 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher and librarian in K–12 schools.

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