Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon: The Graphic Novel

Putnam. May 2024. 112p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780593615690.
Gr 1-3–Another of the classics-turned-graphic novels, this adaptation of Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon is a charming reimagining of Paula Danziger’s original. Amber Brown is a third grader with olive skin and messy, brown pigtails. Despite her parents’ recent divorce and her dad relocating outside of the country, she is doing well, especially since she has her best friend Justin (who is blond, with white skin) by her side. They make a good team, helping each other with math and reading, and having fun with their teacher, Mr. Cohen (who has brown skin) and his imaginative travel lessons. Unfortunately, things can’t always stay the same—Justin’s dad got a great new job in Alabama, far away from New Jersey, and they’ll be moving soon. Amber is devastated, but why doesn’t Justin care? Ying’s warm, expressive illustrations do a great job of imbuing the characters with emotion, and Amber’s iconic pigtails take on a life of their own in each panel. The last pages include examples of character development and interior art development of the book.
VERDICT Highly recommended for younger fans of “The Baby-Sitter’s Club” graphic novel series. A first purchase for most collections.

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