Flight Explorer was a fun, varied collection of short works. It's a great introduction to graphic novels because the stories are so different. I didn'...moreFlight Explorer was a fun, varied collection of short works. It's a great introduction to graphic novels because the stories are so different. I didn't love all of the stories but I did enjoy the exposure to artists and authors I've never heard of. I think many kids will enjoy this book, they are likely to find one or two creators that they just adore. I thought all of the artwork was done really well even though there was such a range of styles.
While I think this would be a natural hit with fans of graphic novels, I also think this would be a great recommendation for any readers unfamiliar with the genre. It eases them in and showcases how different they can be, offering a mixed platter of storytelling.(less)
One of my favorite books as a child was D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths. I adored the illustrations and the awesome stories of times long ago. I didn'...moreOne of my favorite books as a child was D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths. I adored the illustrations and the awesome stories of times long ago. I didn't encounter this volume of myth interpretations until I was an adult, after I had already read the Eddas on which these tales are based. The illustrations are just as stunning as those in the collection of Greek myths - as I was reading this book at work, everyone stopped by to look over my shoulder. This book is a treasure for children and a must-have for any children's library. It gives a the reader a fantastical journey into the nine worlds of the ancient Norse, providing readers with a background in a mythology that has greatly influenced literature and other media over the ages.(less)
Into the Wild is a cute tween novel that explores the intersection of the real world and the fairytale world. Julie's mother is Zel, better known as R...moreInto the Wild is a cute tween novel that explores the intersection of the real world and the fairytale world. Julie's mother is Zel, better known as Rapunzel, and is in charge of keeping the wild tame. Fairytale characters seem to have been normal people sometime long ago in the past that got drawn into a primal, magical wilderness that caused them to cycle through the classic fairytales repeatedly. Rapunzel and her prince were able to finally break that cycle, allowing fairytale characters to lead normal lives of their own choosing. That is, until someone wishes the wild free. It takes over Julie's town and draws Rapunzel and all her friends back into its trap. Julie must venture into the wild herself to save her mother and the world. I loved seeing a girl cast into the role of hero and the author did a fine job of subtly suggesting that fairytales and fantasy stories are frequently sexist. There were a couple times when Julie runs through all her resources and only focuses on the nameless princes before realizing that she is going to have to be the hero and save the day. (less)
This book was recommended to me as a picture book that positively portrays life in an urban environment. Sally Jean loves to ride her bicycle, Flash,...moreThis book was recommended to me as a picture book that positively portrays life in an urban environment. Sally Jean loves to ride her bicycle, Flash, but when she outgrows Flash she must get a new bike. But her family doesn't have the ability to buy her a new bike! Sally Jean learned to repair her bicycle and starts to help friends and neighbors out with their bikes. Through the process she realizes that she can build herself a new bike from used parts! I loved the resourcefulness that the protagonist displayed and her overall positive attitude. It was also great to see a family with financial constrains portrayed in such positive light. The illustrations are bright and lively and really bring the story to life. (less)
After pranksters George and Harold get themselves in a little too much trouble, they are saddled with performing unsavory chores for their harsh princ...moreAfter pranksters George and Harold get themselves in a little too much trouble, they are saddled with performing unsavory chores for their harsh principal. The two boys come up with a hypnotism-based scheme to finally end their torture and in doing so, turn the principal into Captain Underpants, a character they made up for a comic book. Captain Underpants runs around the city trying to thwart wrongdoers and surprisingly does a pretty good job, considering he doesn't actually have any super powers. The best part about this book is the wealth of amusing illustrations and the spectacular flip-o-rama. The rest of it - the plot, the characters, and the writing itself - is pretty dismal. I was dismayed by the number of misspellings and grammatical errors made in the name of "staying true" to the characters and bored and somewhat irritated by the story itself. Harold and George are unlikeable to an adult but probably relatable to the audience this book is aimed at. Overall, I don't think the book has much value as anything outside of a frivolous read. That said, frivolous books are important and getting reluctant readers dedicated to a series is a great success. I see the place this book has in libraries, I just don't like it much myself.(less)
Through alternating chapters of present day and flashbacks, Pictures of Hollis Woods tells the story of the titular character, a pre-teen orphan. She'...moreThrough alternating chapters of present day and flashbacks, Pictures of Hollis Woods tells the story of the titular character, a pre-teen orphan. She's been bumped around through foster homes for her entire life and has found herself living with Josie, an aging artist losing her memory. Hollis enjoys living with Josie, who doesn't remember to send her to school but also frequently forgets to go grocery shopping or feed them. Every other chapter is a flashback to a summer Hollis lived with a family that seemed to be a great fit. She loved them and they loved her. As the story unfolds, we find out why Hollis left and what's going to happen to her now.
The suspense of trying to figure out why Hollis left Regans kept me turning the pages. They seemed to fit each other so well, even despite the expected family tensions. I knew something tragic must have happened but could not figure out what it was. Even though the driving force behind my reading was to find out what epic catastrophe caused Hollis to move on, the journey along the way could not have been more intriguing. Hollis is an artist and Giff's descriptions of her drawings added so much personality to the character. Although the book was short, under 200 pages, it was filled to the brim with real, 3-dimensional characters and emotion. (less)
The Beaumonts are a unique family - they develop special powers at the age of thirteen. And Mibs is about to turn 13 but right before her birthday a c...moreThe Beaumonts are a unique family - they develop special powers at the age of thirteen. And Mibs is about to turn 13 but right before her birthday a car accident lands her father in the hospital a few towns away. Mibs' mother and eldest brother run off to the hospital to be with Poppa, leaving the youngest four children under the care of the local pastor's wife. It doesn't take long for Mibs to decide that she's going to make it to Poppa, no matter what, and when she hides away in a bus, finds herself in the company of her other two brothers and the pastor's kids. However, what Mibs thought would be a short trip turns into a long, complicated journey. I read through this book so quickly and found it to be a very satisfying read. I think the fun, real characters will appeal to a wide audience and their misadventures will keep kids turning the page. Law has a way with words, her descriptions create awesome images of the characters and the world around them - I found myself totally immersed in the story. It's gripping, a little long for younger kids but not too challenging, and has a wide appeal. (less)