December didn’t have a ton of books other than holiday reads, so I thought I’d do another graphic novels round up instead. The boys received a huge pile of them for Christmas, so they’ve been reading a lot of them. You can find some previous graphic novels round ups here and here and here and here. There’s even more if you want to dig through the archives. Really, if it’s a children’s graphic novel, there’s a decent chance we’ve tried it.
City of Light, City of Dark by Avi and Brian Flocca
This graphic novel by Avi is older but I had never seen it, so I was glad that it was reissued. Two kids must find a special token to save their city before it’s too late. The city is a sort of alternate New York, threatened by a race of beings called the Kurbs. Avi is not usually a graphic novel writer and it shows in this wordy story with slightly rough black and white drawings. Kids used to easier children’s graphic novels may be surprised by the amount of text on the page in this book. But Avi is a great writer and it’s very worth the read.
The Olympians by George O’Conner
This full color graphic novel series about the Greek gods and goddesses is reasonably well done. Because we’ve been deep in prep for the National Mythology Exam, anything that helps has been snatched up, so we have several of these out from the library at the moment. The depiction of the stories is pretty accurate, but there’s nothing special about the art or the interpretation. The mishmash of stories in each volume does reflect the best tales about each god, but also breaks up the continuity of some of the myths. The kids haven’t been especially gaga for them either. I’d recommend these mostly for myth mad kids.
Graphic Universe’s Mythology Series by various authors
Continuing on the mythology theme, we’ve also had several of these graphic novels out from the library recently. I’m not a huge fan of this imprint, which churns out a number of educational comic titles (I previously wrote about my disappointment with the Max Axiom series, also published by Graphic Universe). However, these simple, straight retellings were a much bigger hit with Mushroom and BalletBoy than the Olympians series. We’ve had Perseus and Hercules here recently and they’ve been good, quick reads and the boys have taken out some of the non-Greek mythology titles as well.
To Dance by Siena Cherson Siegel and Mark Siegel
BalletBoy received this short autobiographical graphic novel about a young ballerina for Christmas. The full color art is lovely and the story is realistic and well written. BalletBoy was thrilled to see the main character reading A Very Young Dancer illustrated clearly. There are a lot of adult and older teen graphic novels that are autobiographical or tell contemporary stories, but most graphic novels for kids still tend toward the silly or fantastic end. This was a nice little change of pace.
Tommysaurus Rex by Doug Tenapel
This story about a boy who gets a pet dinosaur is funny and strangely sweet. The main character’s dog dies and the dinosaur, who he finds while staying with his grandmother, becomes a sort of dog replacement. The full color art is detailed and quirky. The boys previously received Tenapel’s Cardboard for their birthday and BalletBoy really enjoyed this one just as much.
Super Dinosaur by Robert Kirkman
This collection turned out to be terrifically silly. It’s definitely not on the literary end of graphic novels, but Mushroom really enjoyed it. It’s about a boy whose father, a genius scientist, discovers that the earth is hollow and intelligent dinosaurs live inside. With the help of a T-Rex and some other dinosaur friends, they fight another genius scientist who happens to be evil. And did I mention that the narrator is a cocky child genius himself? After some initial text, there’s not much to the dialogue and the superhero style art tells much of the story, so many kids newer to reading may enjoy the series.
Knights of the Lunch Table by Frank Cammuso
This easy to read, full-color graphic novel was a hit for both boys, who took only an afternoon to read the first volume. The story parallels the Arthurian legend, but sets the story at a middle school where the battles are dodge ball and the sword in the stone is a stuck locker. The story is fast and silly. Both the boys are excited to get the next two volumes.