I loved how this work tackled the transitory nature of friendship; it's such a human story despite being about a dog and his robot. Friends come and g...moreI loved how this work tackled the transitory nature of friendship; it's such a human story despite being about a dog and his robot. Friends come and go, and often it's sad, and people don't MEAN to drift, but they do. And when you see that person again down the line?? A lot of the time it's okay -- it doesn't diminish or erase the friendship you once had with that person, but it's also okay to move on and just hold onto those memories.
The last two pages nearly slayed me; they were a perfect blend of melancholic but equally hopeful and happy and I couldn't believe that this unassuming book made me choke up. Oh yeah, and Sara Varon managed to pull all of this off without a single word--just pictures here. Highly recommended.(less)
I was a little iffy on this one to start but by the end I was completely sold! This is a super cute story, though I can't really put into words what I...moreI was a little iffy on this one to start but by the end I was completely sold! This is a super cute story, though I can't really put into words what I liked about it so much; there's just something very charming about it. The art makes it almost a borderline comic, as many pages are comprised of only 2-3 panels, but this would make it great for children who are being introduced to graphic novels for the first time.
My favourite part? That Varon included recipes for all the baked goods Cupcake makes throughout the story! If parents want to pick this up for their kids they could easily make it an interactive experience, or librarians could create some kind of program around it somehow; it just adds an extra layer to the reading experience that I think could be a lot of fun. :)
I'll definitely be checking out Varon's previous work Robot Dreams and I look forward to whatever she puts out next.
[As an aside, can I mention how I find it kind of bizarre how this world is populated by food, but they all obviously eat food (e.g. Cupcake bakes a carrot cake, but in the next scene a giant Carrot is serving him grilled cheese; or, Tomato picks up an order of cake, but later on Cupcake is buying tomatoes to use in his baking. This is just me over-thinking though, honestly.) This obviously didn't deter from my enjoyment of the work, but the thought wouldn't leave me alone!](less)
Introduction: I'm making up a pathfinder for good introductory graphic novel titles for older children (6-12 years; I also hope that it could be used...more Introduction: I'm making up a pathfinder for good introductory graphic novel titles for older children (6-12 years; I also hope that it could be used as a list of core titles for librarians who might want some guidance) and I've found that it's actually an area in graphic novels I'm not very knowledgeable in. This title caught my eye it was edited by Kazu Kibuishi (of Amulet fame, which I have not read), and I've never read a graphic novel comprised of stand-alone short stories either, so I decided to give it a go and see if it would be a good pick for my pathfinder.
Under the Floorboards by Emily Carroll This was deliciously creepy, but not so scary that it would scare off the intended audience (older children). The story kind of reminded me of a condensed version of Anya's Ghost I love Carroll's artstyle -- imagine Kate Beaton and Noelle Stephenson's artstyles having a love-child. (4/5)
Spring Cleaning by David Roman and Raina Telgemeier I wanted to like this one more (I'm a fan of Telgemeier's work), but this one didn't grab me. In terms of tone and art style, it's quite different from the story that came just before it which was slightly jarring, and the narrative felt much more frantically paced and rushed. As always, I enjoyed Telgemeier's signature colourful and expressive art style, but a part of me was anticipating her doing something a little darker. (2.5/5)
The Keeper's Treasure by Jason Kafoe This is a nice little fantasy piece that has a good dose of humour. I was a little torn on the art -- the line art for the protag was a little lacking, but the ogre-like character was wonderfully drawn and coloured. The backgrounds were also gorgeous, really bringing this little snapshot of the world to life. I was slightly confused by the "message" of the ending, but it was cute nonetheless. (3.5/5)
The Butter Thief by Rob Sechrist Ohmigosh, the art in this story is CRAZY GOOD and beautiful to look at (though I wish there had been a bit more contrast in the colour and values). The story is very cute, though I am not at all familiar with the mythology it was based on (if it even was based on any real-world mythology, I'm not even `00% sure.) (4/5)
The Solder's Daughter by Stuart Livingston with Stephanie Ramirez While the art in this was pretty solid, I wasn't so fond of the writing; it had an air of melodrama to it that felt too forced and almost laughable. The message of "WAR IS BAD FOR EVERYONE" is trite and overdone, though it may feel fresh and subversive for younger readers who haven't encountered these kinds of narratives yet. (2.5/5)
Whatzit by Joanne Matte with Saymone Phanekham Loved the colourful and exaggerated art-style; it's wonderfully cartoony, clean and very professional. I am not at all surprised she did storyboards for Dreamworks (How to Drain Your Dragon) and Nickolodeon (Avatar: The Last Airbender). The story was super cute, and I loved the idea of everything in the universe being contained in boxes. It was impressive the amount of world-building Matte managed to fit into this short piece and without even really saying anything. (4/5)
The Escape Option by Kazu Kibuishi Didn't really feel this one. I liked the art (it reminded me a lot of Kafoe's), but the story felt *too* clipped. Still, what Kibuishi managed to cram into such a short amount was impressive. (3/5)
Conclusion: For me, this collection was a little uneven (a risk all anthologies encounter), but I didn't despise any of the stories and I quite enjoyed others. The art was consistently solid, and the content was appropriate for the intended audience (while rarely being pandering or condescending). I'm still debating whether I'm going to include this on my pathfinder, but I think it's a good example of short stories in the graphic novel form.(less)
The nostalgia!! I don't know if I enjoyed this so much because I read the BSC books voraciously (in French as well as English) as a child, but this wa...moreThe nostalgia!! I don't know if I enjoyed this so much because I read the BSC books voraciously (in French as well as English) as a child, but this was a lot of fun!
Obviously, the biggest draw to reading this was that it was in a graphic novel/comic book format and Graphix couldn't have made a better choice than having Telgemeier at the illustration helm. Her art style is adorable and fits the tone of this series so well. She captured the essence of Kristy, Mary Ann, Claudia and Stacey with her designs and breathed new life into them. I was a little sad to see this in B&W (I've read Smile and Drama which were both coloured) but Telgemeier's line work is very strong and didn't suffer from the lack of colour. The panel structure is very simple and easy to follow, but it breaks things up once in awhile with little things like the girls' entries into their babysitting logbook (which mirrored how they did it in the books too).
The writing, while obviously based off Martin's text, was wonderfully adapted and didn't feel dated in the slightest (though the lack of cell phones may puzzle younger readers who are surrounded by that kind of thing--I would be surprised if it deterred one's enjoyment of the work though.) It's a fun, clean story that offers the usual bits about friendship and growing up which are plots that have obviously been tread many times before, but I found this had so much charm and heart that I enjoyed myself immensely while reading. I can't wait to get my hands on the next couple of volumes that are available! I'm curious how many Graphix is going to publish (but I hope it's a lot.)(less)