I read several graphic novels out of the children’s sections over the summer, so I thought I’d post about them all together.
First of all, Mushroom posted about the wordless graphic novels he loves here. The Adventures of Polo by Regis Faller is a wonderful series for younger kids. Next, BalletBoy posted about the graphic novel series Owly here. These are also wordless, but are of a chapter book length and have more complicated plots than the picture book style of the Polo series. They’re very different series, but both worth checking out. I think they serve an interesting purpose in that they seem to be preparing the kids to sit and read longer works on their own without help. However, they do so without the pressure of the newest element in their ability to read: the words. Instead, they can focus on what they still like most about a book anyway – the pictures and the story.
Next, I finally got around to actually reading a Babymouse book. It was just as adorable and excellent as I had heard. The story in the first book is the very common story of a kid (well, a mouse) who wants to be in with the popular kids and can’t quite get there. What elevates it is Babymouse’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” feel. Every time she gets bored or life gets difficult, Babymouse imagines a new, fantastical story that reflects her reality, such as when she goes to the wild west. The visuals, which are all black and white with pink become much pinker when Babymouse imagines.
Also, I checked out a well-worn copy of Robot Dreams. Like the comics the kids read, this one is also wordless. However, the plot was probably slightly too complex for my kids not to mention that it was touchingly sad and evocative. It’s amazing to me how some of the comics (and picture books) with the simplest, cartoony styles, can be so emotionally resonant with the reader. I really enjoyed it.
However, I enjoyed reading the first in the Amulet series even more. This book looked and felt like a Miyazaki movie. I spotted it in the library and remembered that awhile back it was mentioned on Greenridge Chronicles in glowing terms. I loved it. The art was beautiful and the story of a sister and brother who lose their parents was fascinating. The two must go into a strange underground universe and encounter bizarre creatures and danger. I’m definitely going back for the next two volumes.
Finally, I also read a couple more from the YA section. First, Prime Baby was enjoyable and short. I love Gene Luen Yang. This one wasn’t as brilliant as his The Eternal Smile, however, it was certainly amusing. It had me laughing aloud. Second, I read Megan Kelso’s Artichoke Tales. Unfortunately, I didn’t really enjoy it. I like Megan Kelso’s style, but the fantastical family saga of war and peace just didn’t connect with me. The simple style was visually appealing but I kept getting lost about who was who, which is never fun in a graphic novel.