March 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Book Review: Graphic Novels | November 2013

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redstarBRITT , Fanny. Jane, the Fox & Me. tr. from French by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou. illus. by Isabelle Arsenault. 104p. Groundwood/House of Anansi. 2013. Tr $19.95. ISBN 978-1-55498-360-5. ebook available.

Gr 7 Up –Helene is unhappy with her life and prefers to escape into books. At school, she is tormented by the insults of her former friends. The book shifts back and forth between Helene’s reality and the world she enters whenever she reads Jane Eyre and begins imagining herself in the character’s place. Helene admires Jane, who is “clever, slender and wise,” who is loved by others even though she is not a traditional beauty. The style of Arsenault’s artwork varies if Helene is in the real world, in the fictional world of Jane Eyre, or if she’s inspired by something that makes the real world better. The illustrations are expressive and accomplished, shifting back and forth between urban and natural environments, between black and white and radiant colors. Readers will be delighted to see Helene’s world change as she grows up, learning to ignore the mean girls and realizing that, like Jane, she is worthy of friendship and love. The large size of this book might be off-putting, but it is a special one for special readers.–Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library

redstarKEENAN , Sheila. Dogs of War. illus. by Nathan Fox. 208p. further reading. websites. Graphix/Scholastic. Nov. 2013. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9780545128872; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780545128889.

Gr 5 Up –Keenan has created an exhilarating and suspenseful set of stories about three soldiers and their dogs while also giving a general overview of different wars and touching on some period political and cultural events. Donnie and his dog, Boots, are medics lost deep in the trenches of World War I, trying to find their platoon. Rescuers stationed in Greenland, Cooper and his dog, Loki, are sent to save a downed World War II pilot. The book ends with the compelling story of Lanford, a vet back from Vietnam suffering from flashbacks of his scout dog, Sheba. These relationships feel genuine and are well developed, showing the training process and the reliance each one had with the other in order to stay alive. By the end, readers will feel that these dogs were not just helpers, but true soldiers worthy of honor. Fox’s illustrations do a wonderful job of showing the devastating nature of these conflicts without sensationalized violence. The backgrounds are exceptional, showing the extremes of each story’s harsh and dangerous environment. A prologue gives more information about each war and a history of solider dogs up to present day. This stunning graphic novel will be a hit with reluctant readers and history lovers.–Peter Blenski, Greenfield Public Library, WI

redstarKIBUISHI, Kazu, ed. The Lost Islands. 128p. (Explorer Series). illus. Abrams/Amulet. 2013. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781419708817; pap. $10.95. ISBN 9781419708831.

Gr 4 Up –Carrying on the spirit of the much-loved “Flight” anthologies, Kibuishi continues his vision in this graphic novel that’s filled with imaginative and kid-friendly stories. The book’s variety is its greatest strength, creating mass appeal for a wide audience through an excellent mix of art styles, tones, and themes. Jake Parker starts off with a clever and retro-looking story about an island of lazy bunnies that forget the meaning of hard work. Chrystin Garland expertly takes the island motif in a complete different direction with a curious girl who must escape from an island of ghosts. Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier’s “Desert Island Playlist” does not disappoint with its thought-provoking story about a girl trying to find herself, although it may be Michel Gagné who steals the show with a visually stunning tale about a school of fish fleeing an erupting underwater volcano. Ending on Kibuishi’s own cautionary tale about a power-driven sea captain, Lost Islands is a great sequel to The Mystery Boxes (Abrams, 2012) that is masterfully told and beautifully drawn. A must-have for any collection.–Peter Blenski, Greenfield Public Library, W

The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue:

Elementary and Middle School

ABOUET , Marguerite. Akissi: Feline Invasion. tr. from French. illus. by Mathieu Sapin. 48p. Flying Eye. 2013. RTE $14.95. ISBN 9781909263017.

CAMMUSO , Frank with Jay Lynch. Otto’s Backwards Day. illus. by Frank Cammuso. 32p. Toon Bks. 2013. RTE $12.95. ISBN 9781935179337. LC 2012047661.

CHEATHAM , Mark. The Life of a Colonial Soldier. ISBN 9781477713105; ISBN 9781477714393; ISBN 9781477714461. LC 2013002224.

EHRMANN , Johanna. The Life of a Colonial Wigmaker. ISBN 9781477713075; ISBN 9781477714317; ISBN 9781477714430. LC 2012049055.

HILLER , Sandra J. The Life of a Colonial Blacksmith. ISBN 9781477713082; ISBN 9781477714331; ISBN 9781477714447. LC 2012048603.

––––. The Life of a Colonial Printer. ISBN 9781477713068; ISBN 9781477714294; ISBN 9781477714423. LC 2013000192.

PELLESCHI , Andrea. The Life of a Colonial Innkeeper. ISBN 9781477713099; ISBN 9781477714355; ISBN 9781477714454. LC 2012051003.

––––. The Life of a Colonial Schoolteacher. ISBN 9781477713051; ISBN 9781477714270; ISBN 9781477714416.

ea vol: 24p. (Jr. Graphic Colonial America Series). glossary. illus. index. websites. Rosen/PowerKids Pr. 2013. lib. ed. $25.25; pap. $10.60; ebk. $25.25.

COLFER , Eoin. adapt. by author & Andrew Donkin. The Eternity Code: The Graphic Novel. illus. by Giovanni Rigano. 112p. (Artemis Fowl Series). Hyperion/Disney. 2013. RTE $19.99. ISBN 9781423145271. LC 2013001136.

FIENBERG , Anna. Horrendo’s Curse: The Graphic Novel. illus. by Rémy Simard. 104p. Annick. 2013. RTE $24.95. ISBN 9781554515493; pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781554515486. ebook available.

HARRELL , Rob. Monster on the Hill. illus. by author. 192p. Top Shelf. 2013. pap. $19.95. ISBN 9781603090759.

RIORDAN , Rick. The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel. Bk. 2. adapt. by Robert Venditti. illus. by Attila Futaki. 128p. (Percy Jackson & the Olympians Series). Hyperion/Disney. 2013. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781423145295. LC 2011012356.

SLAVIN , Bill with Esperança Melo. Big Top Otto. Bk. 2. illus. by author. 88p. (Elephants Never Forget Series). Kids Can. 2013. Tr $16.95. ISBN 978-1-55453-806-5; pap. $7.95. ISBN 978-1-55453-807-2.

WILLIAMS , Marcia. The Romans: Gods, Emperors, and Dormice. illus. by author. 40p. Candlewick. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763665814. LC 2012947731.

High School

BEYER , Ramsey. Little Fish: A Memoir from a Different Kind of Year. illus. by author. 272p. Zest. 2013. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781936976188. LC 2013932098.

DE HEER , Margreet. Science: A Discovery in Comics. tr. from Dutch by author. illus. by author. 192p. chart. diag. further reading. index. maps. NBM. 2013. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781561637508. ebook available. LC 2013939851.

SHAKESPEARE, William . Romeo & Juliet. adapt. by Gareth Hinds. illus. by adapter. 144p. Candlewick. 2013. RTE $21.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-5948-6; pap. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-6807-5. LC 2012950561.

Whitehead, Dan, adapt. William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: The Graphic Novel. illus. by Naresh Kumar. 112p. Campfire. 2013. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9789380741802.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2013 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.