Tag Archives: usagi yujimbo

Birthday Graphic Novels

Not graphic novels about birthdays.  Graphic novels the kids got for their birthday and subsequently devoured!

For Mushroom…

Guinea PI: Hamster and Cheese by Colleen Venable and Stephanie Yue
Someone blocked the letter “g” on poor Sasspants’s sign at the pet store, making her end up as a private investigator (get it, get it?).  That pretty well sums up the punny, slightly random humor in this graphic novel series about animal mysteries.  This first book is about a missing sandwich.  The reading level is just above Mushroom’s level, but he’s been motivated and enjoying reading, plus the book is relatively short.  It’s something a chapter book reader would easily read in one sitting.  The full color art is cute and appealing and the concept is clever.  It’s not the high art of the children’s graphic novel world or anything, but Mushroom is really enjoying them (he liked it so much, I bought him the second one, Then There Were Gnomes as well) a whole lot.  I think it’s a good light and easy pick for jokey boys.

For BalletBoy…

Usagi Yojimbo 1: The Ronin by Stan Sakai
I wavered a lot about what to get BalletBoy.  I wanted to follow up on his love of both The Fog Mound series and the Amulet books.  I almost went with Bone (even though I couldn’t entice him with it earlier), but I ended up with the first book in this long-running series (there are more than 25 volumes).  It’s about a samurai rabbit in a world that is basically seventeenth century Japan, just populated by animals.  It has the sort of drama BalletBoy is into right now in his graphic novels, but it also has a dose of violence that I think might be slightly too much.  It’s not terrible, but it’s not a perfect fit.  I haven’t read the later volumes, but I’ve read they get better that this collection which is just a series of vignettes.  About halfway in, BalletBoy got very excited about it and told me it was so good.  I’m going to preview the next volume a little more closely, but there’s also a lot of humor and good storytelling in this first book, so I hope we both end up reading and enjoying the series.

For both of them…

Spy vs. Spy: The Joke and Dagger Files
Friends gave the kids this big omnibus of old Mad Magazine Spy vs. Spy cartoons.  They’re mostly wordless, but all of them are just as silly as you remember.  Really, the best part is hearing young children try to explain to you why it’s funny that they accidentally blew each other up.  Both the boys have been giggling over this off and on since their birthday and I even saw them reading it together on the floor at one point.