Friday, July 29, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Enjoy the Below GN Reviews from Students in my Summer II YA Lit Class!
Don Quixote Part II,In Defense of the Realm, The Wright Brothers, The Good Neighbors: Book One,Stolen Hearts: The Love of Eros & Psyche, The Swiss Family Robinson, Call of the Wild, Amulet Books 1-3, and The Babysitters Club: Kristy's Great Idea.
Ashley Swarthout Reviews Campfire's *Don Quixote, Part II*
Author: Miguel de Cervantes
Wordsmith: Lloyd S. Wagner
Illustrator: Vinod Kumar
Colorist: Vinod S. Pillai
Publisher: Kalyani Navyug Media Pvt. Ltd.
Publication Date: August 9, 2011
Don Quixote: Part II begins after Don Quixote has returned home from his many adventures. He spends his days in solitude and remembrance until he is convinced by his friend and squire, Sancho Panza, and the bachelor, Samson Carrasco, to embark on a new adventure. His journey with Sancho Panza begins in high spirits but is crushed when he finds his love, Lady Dulcinea, has been enchanted and turned into a peasant woman who no longer recognizes him.
The journey continues with many high points for the Don Quixote and his squire, most of which occur during a long stay with a duke and duchess. The Duke and Duchess create elaborate pranks for Don Quixote to work through, all without his knowledge. When Don Quixote and Sancho Panza continue on their adventures they are confronted by a knight who challenges Don Quixote by declaring his lady is more beautiful than Lady Dulcinea. Once Don Quixote loses the joust he returns home with instructions from the victor to stay there for a full year. However, after returning home Don Quixote becomes ill and passes away in his bed surrounded by his friends and caretakers.
The humor was entertaining, and the illustrations were captivating. Even if the reader has never heard of the classic novel written by Miguel de Cervantes, this graphic novel gives relevant information on the classic novel and is constructed artistically so as to potentially peek enough interest on the character of Don Quixote for readers to want to read the longer text. However, being that the protagonist is an older knight, and the journey seems to be doomed to fail from the start, young adults reading this text may have difficulty relating to Don Quixote and his mission.
There are a couple of the characteristics present in the best examples of young adult literature in Don Quixote: Part II. The reading of the graphic novel is fast paced. It quickly takes the reader on the journey alongside Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. The language is mostly simple but does include an occasional higher level word. For example, the word “vanquished” is used several times throughout the text, and the word “bravado” is used on page 28 to describe Don Quixote’s behavior with a lion he wishes to fight. The graphic novel is fast-paced in that it moves from action to action with little to no lull time between.
In addition to being fast-paced, Don Quixote: Part II‘s character, Don Quixote, is overly optimistic most of the time. There are very few instances where he is not optimistic. In the very beginning of the novel when he decides to leave for more adventures, he is not concerned about his age or about the rumors that he is mad. He says, “Within four days, my dear friend Sancho, we shall be on the road again, doing good and combating evil” (10). There are times when Sancho is not as optimistic as Don Quixote, and Don Quixote is quick to point out his friend’s fear. “It seems to me, Sancho, that you want to be perched on that tree to watch the bull fight without danger” (22).
Don Quixote: Part II is missing many of the characteristics that define the best young adult literature examples. The most obvious missing characteristic is that it is not written from the point of view of a young adult; furthermore, the protagonist is a much older, past-his-glory-days, mad knight, making it difficult for young adult readers to identify with him. While Don Quixote is quick to take credit for his perceived accomplishments, a characteristic of the best of best in young adult literature, his accomplishments are not really his. Every time he believes he has accomplished a grand victory or deed, it is actually out of folly or prank.
For instance, on page 62 Don Quixote believes that he has defeated Malambruno, thus removing the beards from the duennas when, in actuality it was a grand prank produced by the Duke and Duchess. The text does not have various genres and subjects. The text contains only a few basic ideas and they do not change during the course of reading. The graphic novel also fails to include a diversity of ethnicities and cultures in both text and illustrations. Another major missing characteristic is that it does not deal with emotions that are important to young people. There are many emotions included and experienced: Don Quixote’s desire to accomplish more great deeds, he becomes depressed when his “so-called” loved one does not recognize him, he is boastful when he believes he has been victorious, and remorseful when he is defeated.
Though Don Quixote moves through all these relatable emotions, it is all done so out of folly and humor, distancing the feeling of relation between the reader and the character. A reader may relate to the feeling of depression when rejected by a lover, but Don Quixote’s rejection was because the peasant was not his real lover. That mistake made by a mad man makes the feeling of depression no longer relatable.
I would recommend this book as an introductory text to the classic novel originally written in 1605 by Miguel de Cervantes. Though the character of Don Quixote is not relatable, he is entertaining and amusing. Being that the graphic novel adapted by Lloyd S. Wagner was also enjoyable and comical, it would be a great introduction to the waggish qualities of Don Quixote and humorous adventures that Don Quixote and Sancho Panza experience. For teachers this would be a recommendable addition to a classroom library for middle and high school aged readers in both English and History classrooms.
Travis Beck Reviews Campfire's *In Defense of the Realm*
Author: Sanjay Deshpande
Artists: Lalit Kumar Sharma, Illustrator; Jagdish Kumar, Inker
Publisher: Kalyani Navyug Media Pvt. Ltd.
Publication Date: Copyright © 2011
The graphic novel In Defense of the Realm by Sanjay Deshpande is a cautionary tale of the dangers of waging war without the use of strategy. It demonstrates how a leader should exercise his or her power when making decisions that can either enhance his subjects’ lives or destroy their lives to the extreme outcome of death.
I found that the story centers around two main characters, Prince Meluha and Princess Kundalini. Both characters are on a journey from adolescence into adulthood. They are characterized as model teenagers (or the perception of what an adult would consider a model teenager). Struggling to cope with events that are happening around them, both characters are innocent, honest, naive, confused, and, above all, scared in the face of uncertain futures. They are on the verge of either ruling their perspective kingdoms or of utter failure. They seem to take very different journeys to their destinies.
In contrast, as far as meeting the best of the best criteria for graphic novels, it seems to fall short. I didn’t get the feeling that the story was written from the point of view of an adolescent. As I stated earlier, it was written from an adult perspective of how we think an adolescent should be, not actually how they are.
In conclusion, the narrator comes in from time to time, giving the reader historical facts about life in the Indus Civilization. This is an attempt to educate the reader, one of Deshpande’s main objects. However, I don’t think that it was consistent enough to be effective. I just didn’t get the feeling that the story was written from the point of view of an adolescent. With that said I would definitely recommend this to students interested in ancient civilization especially to those who are interested in India’s history.
George A. Arreola Reviews Campfire's * The Wright Brothers*
Artist: Sankha Banerjee
Publisher: Campfire Graphic
Publication Date: June 28, 2011
From an early age, Orville and Wilbur Wright were encouraged by their parents to learn as much as possible in the classroom as well as to seek knowledge outside the classroom. Their father wanted them not to be content with just the knowledge from school; he figured there was a lot to be learned outside the classroom too. The boys got their mechanical interest from their mother who had made a few appliances that she used at home. The boys also inherited their curiosity from their father, who used to travel throughout the country and brought back gifts from far away places which, encouraged their adventurous spirit. Their father introduced them to a small printing press in which Orville took interest.
The story follows the two main characters of Orville and Wilbur Wright and shares what these two brothers were like growing up. The graphic novel covers the main points of their lives, allowing the reader to see that not everything was perfect; they had their struggles along the way but were able to succeed. They found obstacles and people that did not believe they could accomplish such a task as flying. The Wright Brothers graphic novel provide interesting facts and the graphics making it easy to follow. Young adults could follow along without any problem because the text is easy to read and the graphics help to follow along.
The Wright Brothers graphic novel covers most of the characteristics of a graphic novel. It might not be part of the “best of the best,” but it does have the elements of a good graphic novel. Most of the book is good, but the story of the Wright brothers in this book is more of a summary of the Wright brother’s lives. There is minimal dialog in the book. The author summarized the story in 68 pages. The Wright Brothers book is an interesting one, but the author could have made into one of the best of the best if he would have put more effort into it. Young adults are intrigued with real life stories of people succeeding. Unfortunately the author cuts the readers short.
After reading this graphic novel, there were a few things that I learned about the Wright brothers. The book does meet the criteria as young adult literature book. I felt this graphic novel kept my interest, and it would be a good book for young adults around the ages of 8-12 to read. Prior to reading this book the only thing I knew about the Wright brothers was that they had been the first ones to fly a plane, but there is more to it. What young adults can learn from this book goes beyond inventing a plane. What it teaches is what was mentioned on the first day of class: “A hard worker would outwork a smart person.” This is precisely what the Wright brothers were able to do while there were many distinguished scientist were trying to be the first ones to fly.
I would recommend this graphic novel to students from grades 4th through 8th. The Wright Brothers is a positive story. It is very encouraging for young adults who aspire to be successful. The Wright brothers might not have finished high school and might not have been the brightest students, but they had the desire, determination, and work ethic to make their goals come true. The road to success was not a smooth one; they encountered many difficulties on their way to accomplishing their goals. If students are able to grasp the concept of hard work than this book is a success.
Karina Pena Reviews *The Good Neighbors Book One: Kin*
The Graphic Novel The Good Neighbors Book One: Kin is an introduction to the story of Rue Silver, which brings two different realms together. The realm of faeries is starting to slowly take over the human realm and Rue Silver may be the only one who can stop it. Furthermore, Rue’s father is accused of murdering a college student named Sarasa Narayan.
This book is great for young adults that are interested in mysteries and fantasy. It would keep young adult entertained and wanting to finish the series to see what happens and how it will end for Rue.
Myriam Martinez Reviews *Eros and Psyche*
Author: Ryan Foley
Artists: Sankha Banerjee, Prince Varghese
Publisher: Kalyani Navyug Media Pvt. Ltd.
Publication Date: 2010
This graphic novel depicts the Greek myth of Eros and Psyche as told to a young woman to teach her the lesson of how a conflict between a mother and daughter-in-law unfolds. The novel describes the clash between Eros’s mother and Psyche, which develops as a result of Aphrodite’s jealousy of Psyche’s beauty. Aphrodite sends Eros to set a trap for Psyche; however, love develops between the two. In response, Aphrodite condemns Psyche to forever be miserable, which in turn causes Eros to deprive the world of love. A compromise is made in which Psyche is isolated from the world in a castle, where a man visits her at night. Unknown to her, that man is Eros; however, she is not allowed to see his face as part of the compromise to avoid her knowing who he is.
Psyche is induced to break her promise by her sisters, who encourage her to see his face. As a result, Eros leaves her. Psyche begs for help from Aphrodite, who places four conditions on her assistance. Psyche manages to meet three of the conditions despite their apparent impossibility. She fails on the fourth condition, but Eros realizes her efforts, saves her, and asks the gods to immortalize her. His wish is granted and they are allowed to live happily ever after. Overall, the novel does a good job of introducing the storyline and setting up the reader for what follows, but fails in that a reader without prior knowledge of the Greek myth would have a hard time filling the gaps in the story.
This graphic novel posses various elements of young adult literature. Among the ones present are that the young person is free to take credit for her accomplishments. Psyche is responsible for resolving her mistakes and is given credit for doing so. The novel is also fast-paced. The novel is also basically optimistic in that Psyche learns and matures as the story progresses, and it has a happy result. The novel also deals with emotions that are important to young people such as love, learning from mistakes, and believing in yourself to succeed.
The graphic novel is missing several characteristics of young adult literature. The novel is narrated by an adult and therefore is not written from the point of view of a young adult. The novel does not include a variety of genres and subjects because it is constrained to Greek mythology. Also lacking is a diversity of ethnicities and cultures. Perhaps because of the timeframe of the original story, the story is removed from reality in that other cultures are not present in the story. Also, while it touches on emotions that might be of interest to young adults, it may be difficult for them to relate to gods and other unfamiliar situations.
I believe the text could be of interest to young adults, especially those with an interest in Greek mythology. The colored dialogue boxes are very useful in helping the reader follow the story and identify who is speaking. The novel also gives a face to the characters of Greek mythology, which are normally described in text only. While it does not fit perfectly into the definition of a young adult piece, it has enough of its elements to qualify as one. For those that are not familiar with the original Greek story, it may be a way to introduce them to a new medium. However, for those that dislike Greek mythology, this may not be a book of interest to them.
I would recommend this book to young adults for the reasons mentioned above. The novel has enough of the elements for a good young adult piece to draw their interest and provide for a good read. For those already very familiar with the original Greek story, I would caution them to remember that it is a slightly different version that does not remain completely true to the original. I would recommend it to young adults especially for its lessons of love and of determination.
Pamela Antwine Reviews *The Swiss Family Robinson*
traveling on a ship from England to Port Jackson, located in New South Wales. Their journey
on the ship becomes disastrous when they encounter a catastrophic storm.
I thought this graphic novel was great and effective for several reasons, including:
the easy flow of the dialogue, the sequence of events was timely, and the illustrations
were very effective. These were demonstrated on (pgs.44, 73).
In the graphic novel the character Fritz is the oldest of four sons, and appears to be a young man of sixteen. Fritz is able to take credit for his accomplishments on
several occasions. Most notable was when he felt his fate lay in the mouth of a shark. Young
Fritz had only been on the island for one day, and unaccustomed to shark attacks. The shark wasswimming towards Fritz when he was transporting the animals from the ship. As terrified as
Fritz was, he was able to shoot and wound the shark on his father’s command (p.29). Another
accomplishment was when Fritz captured and tamed an wild eagle (p.45).
The Swiss Family Robinson graphic novel is fast-paced because the events happen
quickly. In the beginning of the story, the family is on a ship. By the middle of the
story the family is on a deserted island, and at the end of the story, the family has
survived all their trials and tribulations. The fast pace of a graphic novel is important
because it keeps the readers attention. It also keeps the reader wondering and guessing
what will happen next.
The story is optimistic, because through it all, the family survives. They
overcame a lot of obstacles when the ship was caught in the storm by remaining calm and
patient. Their demonstration of optimism came through when the family prayed, “ Our heads
were soothed by the comfort of childlike prayer, and the horrors of our situation seemed less
terrible.” Their faith and family unity helped strengthen their ability to remain optimistic.
Time and change were demonstrated when the boys first arrived at the island:
They were young boys, and vulnerable to their surroundings. They then changed into
men after being on the island for ten years (p.53). They spoke with optimism just after
their father had completed making each of them a pair of boots (p.41). “ Yes, we’ve had a
pretty eventful time since we landed here all those months ago” (p.42).
The family’s fate of leaving the island once seemed hopeless. But now the family
has a choice to leave or remain on the island. Each person chooses to seek their own
happiness and fulfillment. This is witnessed at the end of the graphic novel,
when the boys are deciding what the future holds for them. Fritz, now a man of twenty-six,
has decided to marry Montrose and move to England. Ernest the second oldest, who appeared
to be thirteen in the first part of the story, now probably a young man of twenty-three,
has chosen to remain with his parents on the island, and continue to study science. Jack the
third oldest son, who appeared to be ten in the beginning of the story, also chooses to remain on
the island as a rider, and shooter.
The Swiss Family Robinson graphic novel deals with the emotions that are important to
young people. The novel demonstrates fearful situations and being able to overcome them. Most young adults at some point in their lives experience fear. In the novel there were incidents of the boys experiencing fear on the ship when the storm first came (p.5). They overcame their fear by going to the lower level of the ship where it was quiet, warm, and dry. Jack experienced fear
when he opened the closed captain’s door on the ship, and the attack dogs rushed towards him
and knocked him to the floor. Jack’s response was to hide his fear and remain calm and
everything worked out fine (p.10). Another important feeling young adults experience is
older brother Fritz. Ernest wanted to go hunting with them, but was not allowed because they felt he was too young. So one day they allowed Ernest to go hunting with them. Although the hunt was unsuccessful in capturing an animal, Ernest could not have been happier. He proved he was quite the hunter with his sharp instincts, and keen eye for spotting the wild animals. From then on Ernest, was always included in the hunt for wild animals. Young adults need to be able to read a graphic novel that deals with similar emotions they can identify with to maintain their interest and to be used as a teaching lesson.
The element missing of the young adult literature is the point of view of the of the young adults for the writing because the graphic novel was written from the point of view of the father. Another element missing is the absence of diversity of ethnicities and cultures because the family lived alone on the island for ten years. This graphic novel does meet the criteria for being considered young adult literature because it offers simplified words throughout the story. The quality of characters and setting are realistic and it reflects on the age of innocence embarking on a unfamiliar journey. The illustrations command your attention as does the story itself.
family unity and a coming of age story. The novel makes good use of dialogue. The
sequence of events follows suit. The illustrations are very graphic and detail oriented.
This would be a great book for children ages eight through fourteen.
Lorenzo Licerio Reviews Campfire's *Call of the Wild*
Author: Jack London
Adapted by: Lloyd S. Wagner
Artist: Sachin Nagar
Publication Date: 2010
This novel gives the reader a great sense of the harsh life that both men and beast confronted in the great Alaskan wilderness at the turn of the century. It tells the story of a dog that, unwillingly, is taken into a great journey. Through this journey, he discovers the kindness and evil that is within some men and animals. It also helped him find his most basic animal instincts. This would serve him in surviving and discovering his true nature and calling in life.
I thought the story in this novel had a good flow to it. It kept me interested in the characters and plot. I think the liberal use of color in the artwork really kept the story alive. I enjoyed the novel overall and would recommend it.
The main character in this novel is the dog Buck. The story is told by Buck’s character and there are no children in it. I think the story was fast paced. It didn’t dwell too long on any particular subject, and that kept the story flowing. It dealt with the subject of dogs, which I think is always a favorite of young adults. I think the negative treatment of them will surprise and challenge the emotions of some children. The graphics did help in visualizing the story and helped in understanding it.
I don’t think there were many elements of the “best of the best” in this novel. There was no young person in the story for young adults to relate to. That takes out of the list most of the” best of the best” elements in young adult literature. That been said, I still think it has some good qualities.
Although it doesn’t have some of the criteria that identify most young adult literature, I still like some of the other elements within it. The struggle to survive is a theme that does resonate in the life of a teenager (not always to the extent of life and death, but surviving teenage life, with all its complexities.) There was some optimism in the dog surviving, form harsh weather, the fights for sled leader, to the mistreatment from the men. The dog also started to get the feeling that his true call was to roam free in a pack. He would get visions of that and would eventually join and lead a pack of his own. The graphics in this novel I think is another element that would attract the youth into reading it.
Even though the novel had no young protagonist as the main character, I would still recommend this novel. I don’t think this would be a novel for anybody below middle school age. Some of the violence depicted against the dogs would be a little too graphic for younger children; especially the way the men treat dogs. I especially think high school students would enjoy the nature of life in those times.
Audrey Gleason Reviews *Amulet Book 2*
Drawn by Kazu Kibuishi
Colors and Backgrounds by Kazu Kibuishi, Amy Kim Kibuishi, Anthony Go Wu, and Jason Caffoe
Publisher: Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc.
Published: September 2009
A continuation from the first book of Amulet: The Stonekeeper, the second in the series, The Stonekeeper’s Curse, places the reader in the dangerous world of Alledia, ruled by malicious elves, where hope can only be found in a twelve-year-old girl, Emily. The graphic novel offers a nice mix of a well-developed storyline and artfully drawn characters.
The Stonekeeper’s Curse is comprised of the viewpoints of the young heroine Emily the Stonekeeper, as well as that of her younger brother, Navin. While both siblings have guidance along their separate, but intertwined journeys, the two adolescents take matters into their own hands and accomplish a great deal individually with help from newly-introduced friends and old allies from the previous book.
Emily and Navin run into elves, cursed townspeople that turn into animals, and wise, old, talking trees. Each of these characters has their distinctive culture, bring a uniquely fictionalized diversity to the story. When Emily and Navin have to part ways, the reader may see how each manages the difficulties of a particular situation the siblings are thrown into and watch the heroes grow. All the while, Emily and Navin struggle with internal conflict of confidence, acceptance of self, and uncertainty of where they may end up.
As the second book in the Amulet series, it lacks a bit in the variety of subjects and genres. This could be due to how much guidance is seen given to Emily and Navin. Even the evil Trellis has a type of guide, Luger, in his journey to destroy Emily and gain the power of the amulet for himself. All the guidance that is given to the characters has one wondering if the heroes and villain can take credit for all their work.
Unfortunately, if the reader has yet to read the book’s predecessor, The Stonekeeper, they might find themselves lost for a while. The Stonekeeper’s Curse does not introduce main and assisting characters that were previously in the first book. The audience is expected to already be familiar with their backgrounds, and what roles they exactly play. Though, the graphic novel does hint to what happened in the previous story, the reader is left to put all the puzzle pieces together by themselves; which makes the reading of it that much more frustrating.
Overall The Stonekeeper’s Curse has a good entertainment value that young adult readers can appreciate. Emily’s gripping adventure will engage readers who will not only have their fill of a well-written work that captivates real human emotion, all the while entertaining with detailed pictures that is beautifully done through brilliant colors, and an eye for capturing the essence of each character’s feeling.
Any young adult that likes fantasy and adventure will have an enjoyable time reading The Stonekeeper’s Curse. As a warning though, the reader should read the Amulet series in sequential order, so that the story comes across entirely.
Patricia Hoban Reviews *Amulet Book 3*
Author: Kazu Kibuishi
Artist/s: Kazu Kibuishi
Publisher: Scholastic, Graphix
Publication Date: 2010
This graphic novel is the third book in a series of four. It may seem at first like a long read, but once one starts reading one really cannot put it down. The story is a continuation of the adventures of Emily and her friends, however, in this book the Elf King’s son, Trellis, and his companion, Luger, have joined Emily and company on their search for Cielis, the lost city. Many believe that Cielis was destroyed when the Elf nation attacked the Guardian Council, however, others believe that the Guardian Council moved the city in order to protect it. As the reader reads one learns why Trellis has asked for Emily’s help to defeat his father, and to one’s surprise it is because of the stones. The stones play a large role in the story as well. At first one may think that it is only a source of power for the stone keepers, but the story of the stones runs much deeper. As the journey continues, there are many elements who wish to stop the travelers, the Elf King and his “hunter”, Gabilan, who was sent to finish the job of killing the stone keeper Emily, as well as Trellis for “treason” in not completing his task of killing Emily.
The journey takes the travelers into the Golbez Cycle, a terrible storm, in which they encounter not only bad weather but horrible flying creatures called Wyverns. Once through the threat of the Wyverns and past other terrible natural weather elements, the travelers reach the beacon that will help them find the lost city. One last encounter with Gabilan tests the strength of Emily. Then it is off to the lost city of Cielis, where the Guardian Council is choosing their successors before they all die off.
Although the story is not told in the point of view of the protagonist, Emily, it does have the essence of a third person, omniscient voice. The readers are not given just one point of view but the point of view from different characters and even their thought process is clear, even through the illustrations you can gain an idea of what is happening in their mind, almost as if one were taking a walk through their thoughts. This story does fall under certain aspects of the “Best of the Best” because although Emily has not completely harnessed the power of being a stone keeper, when needed she acts to battle an enemy or protect a loved one using the training she has gained and is able to take credit for her accomplishments. Although it does take training to help her control her powers, in the end it is only her that can manipulate those powers with her feelings and thoughts.
Another aspect that the story falls under with is it is very fast-paced. The story has the feeling of moving very quickly to get to the climax, the climax being the finding of the lost city and the battle with Gabilan at the beacon. There is definitely different cultures and ethnicities in this story. Although it is a futuristic tale and deals with magic, one does meet all the different characters who are humans, animals, elves and even robots. Even though they are all different they all come together. This story is definitely filled with optimism. Emily has doubts in herself but knows that it is up to her in the end. Not only is it a journey to find the lost city but it is also a journey for Emily to find herself in a way, to find who she is as a stone keeper. Even as a graphic novel this story does deal with emotions that young adults deal with on a daily basis. Emily is in a constant struggle within of what should she do, who should she be, and definitely what she is going to do about it. She knows she has to do what is right, but she struggles with the fact that she must also protect her family.
I do not feel that this story lacks much as far as being categorized in the “Best of the Best” when it comes to YA literature. The story may have been a little easier to follow if was told from Emily’s point of view so that the readers could gain a better idea of what was going on in her mind and what was happening through her eyes. However, it would have been a completely different story at that point, maybe a different series. There is never really a point within this story per se where Emily begins to answer the question of “What am I going to do about it?” This could be because it is part of a series of books and that change may come within the fourth book. Other than that it does carry all the elements to be considered the “Best of the Best.”
I honestly feel that this story, no the series, meets and fits the criteria for young adult literature. Considering that the story is fast paced, optimistic, contains characters that have the different characteristics of YA literature and so many other aspects, I feel that this would be a good book for young adults to read. There are many instances in life where young adults deal with answering the epic questions, “Who am I and what am I going to do about it?” and this book also addresses at least one of those questions. I’m sure the fourth book addresses the other. Not only does it deal with things that fall into the “best of the best” but it is not a difficult read at all and the illustrations help to guide the reader and draw them in.
I have to agree with one of the reviews of this book from Jeff Smith, “Five-no three pages into Amulet and you’ll be hooked,” (Back cover). Now granted this may have been about the first book, but after reading this book I know I definitely want to get the others and read them.
I would definitely recommend this book too anyone who loves futuristic anime type stories and books.
The story is a tale of adventure, friendship and so much more. Honestly, I would recommend this story to anyone. It is kind of like watching a movie that ends only to carry on into a second one (kind of like the last Harry Potter movie). Once the reader reaches the end one wants to know what happens next. The hook is definitely there and it draws the reader in. It is a book that one can’t put down once they’ve started.
Fabiola Velasquez Reviews *Babysitters Club: Kristy's Great Idea*
Title: Babysitters Club: Kristy’s Great Idea
Author: Raina Telgemeier
Artist/s: Raina Telgemeier
Publication Date: 2006
The Babysitters Club: Kristy’s Great Idea is a graphic novel based on a book by the same name published in 1988. It deals with four friends, Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia and Stacey, who are seventh graders that create a baby-sitters club. They come upon various issues related to growing up while they establish the club. It is an excellent graphic novel for young girls and is filled with topics to which they can relate.
The Babysitters Club possesses a variety of elements of young adult literature. It is told in the point of view of Kristy, who has the idea for the club. Her ambition about the club demonstrates her early maturity and responsibility. The idea of a club of this sort can affect young readers positively by inspiring them to create a similar small business. The value of hard work is an important theme in the novel. Kristy and her friends are great role models for young girls. The Babysitters Club is simple in its plot as well as its drawings. The author makes it easy for readers to follow along and her drawings allow for us to feel what the characters are experiencing. The pictures make the book an enjoyable read.
The graphic novel deals with subjects that young girls can easily relate to. Several of them include Kristy’s divorced parents and her absent father, as well as her mother dating. She cannot get used to her mom’s boyfriend, Watson, but as the novel progresses she gives him a chance and finally accepts him. Her family’s situation is a realistic one. Although her father is not in her life, the book portrays her mother as being very involved. Another common theme that readers can relate to is that of peers growing up at different paces, which is shown in the novel with Claudia. Of the four friends, she is already wearing makeup and seems more concerned about her appearance. Girls like Claudia, who are in a rush to grow up, are so commonly seen in schools.
One of the elements of young adult literature that I noticed missing from The Babysitters Club was a diversity of ethnicities. The colorless pictures make the girls races undistinguishable, which made me assume they are of the same ethnicity. I feel that the lack of different cultures is made up for by the different personalities of the characters. They are all unique in their own ways and contribute their abilities to the club.
The Babysitters Club meets the criteria for being considered young adult literature. Its themes are simple but are those that are important to teenagers and its sequels offer the idea of taking the journey of growing up with the four girls with deeper themes. I would definitely recommend The Babysitters Club to young girls and to those who read the original series. I, myself, read the originals and found this adaptation very enjoyable. The Babysitters Club offers young readers the understanding of a few topics in real life while still making it a fun read.
C.C. Almodovar Reviews *Amulet Book 1*
Title: Amulet: Book One The Stonekeeper
Author: Kazu Kibuishi
Artist: Kazu Kibuishi
Publication Date: 2008
“Szrak, Hweeee, Squawk, Krnch, and Szzt,” are just a few of the exciting words that are in this thrilling and adventurous first installment of Kazu Kibuishi’s book Amulet. Amulet is a graphic novel centered around a young girl named Emily and her little brother Navin. This story is very action packed. In the prologue, Emily’s family is driving to pick up Navin, Emily’s younger brother, when her father swerves to miss a broken down car and drives off the road. The car flips over and nearly falls off of a cliff. Emily and her mother, Karen, are the only ones to get out before the car slides off of the cliff with Emily’s father still inside, killing him when the car crashes at the bottom of the cliff.
Amulet possesses some characteristics of young adult literature and also contains some of the “Best of the best” ideas. This story is centered on two pre-teens, Emily and Navin. It follows them on their journey into a new land in order to search for their mother. Many readers could identify with the story’s main character, Emily. She is an adventurous girl whom loves her family deeply. She has already lost one parent and will do whatever she can to protect her mother and brother. A “Best of the best” quality represented in the book is that Emily takes responsibility and gets credit for her actions. When she learns about the amulet and its powers, she has to accept them. She is given the responsibility of taking care of the amulet and controlling its power.
Amulet contains many elements of young adult literature; however, it does not contain them all. The story does not include different ethnicities and cultures, which is a “Best if the best” quality. Emily and Navin go into a new mysterious land that is somehow in their basement. They do not know where they are or what kind of different creatures they see. The story shares a little information about the new world but is very limited. The story also is focused on the main characters and their journey. This book is used to set up the story and it does not show or mention different ethnicities or cultures of our world. For readers who are not into fantasy, this book may be difficult for them to get into because it is not relatable in that way. Another “Best of the best” characteristic which is limited is the variety of genres and subjects that are relatable. The story deals with death of a parent and with the kidnapping of the other and how Emily is coping with them. These topics are family oriented and show readers that it is important to care for family. This story does not touch on other important topics to young adult readers such as drinking, dealing with the opposite sex, school, and puberty. This may limit the relatable content to its readers and have less of a connection to them.
This graphic novel is very interesting and entertaining, and I would recommend young adult people to read this book. It is very entertaining and is action-packed, which makes the reading flow easily and quickly. Since this is a series book, it will interest the readers to continue with the story and find out what happens to Emily, Navin, and their mother Karen. Like some quest-type stories, this book is optimistic and has a silver lining. You can see that Emily is slowly changing from a little girl to a young adult. She is becoming more responsible and taking credit for her actions. Even though this book does not have other topics that are in young adult books such as dating and puberty, this is still a very entertaining book. The title Amulet does not provide a lot of information to go off of but the prologue gives an abundance of information and illustrates the situation the family is in at the beginning of the story.
I would recommend this book to young adults both in middle school and high school. This book is easy to read without being boring. The story sucks the reader in within the first couple of pages and leaves you wanting more. I believe the easy flow will also help young adults read cover to cover. This is a quest or journey story, and I believe it can appeal to many people.
Monday, July 18, 2011
San Diego Here I Come!
This year I'll be going as a panelist, joining Katie Monnin and others in an academic session on comics and writing. I'll be wearing some comics-related clothing, but I will not be in full costume this year. Maybe next year, though!