I have a couple of reviews of elementary/middle grade graphic novels which are Cybils nominees that I have read recently read. I am a Round 1 panelist this year for the Graphic Novels category.
#188. Perseus and Medusa by Blake A. Hoena, illustrated by Daniel Perez, 2009, 63 pgs - This retelling of the famous Greek myth is quite complete in its details including parts of the story not always included in children's versions such as the Gorgons which frequently get dropped. But I was most impressed with the inclusion of the sidestory of Perseus's return journey home including his saving of Andromeda before he returns to court with the head of Medusa. A very true retelling, keeping it suitable for children. There is a bit of violence, Medusa does get her head chopped off after all, and with that a few drops of blood are shown here and there over a few pages. Nothing I wouldn't deem suitable for an 8yo of my own. The illustrations are gorgeous! I always say this when I review a Stone Arch book but they always use top-notch artists for their books. Perez has worked for Marvel and Dark Horse comics and his illustrations beautifully bring the story alive. A must read for mythology fans! 5/5
#189. Fashion Kitty and the Unlikely Hero by Charise Mericle Harper, 2008, 106 pgs. - Kiki the cat is a super hero. Whenever there is a fashion disaster she turns into Fashion Kitty, has the ability to fly and can fix any fashion blunder. Her school changes policy and everyone must start wearing uniforms, what a tragedy! But is it? Fashion Kitty doesn't receive any calls. There is something bigger afoot here and maybe you don't have to be a super hero to be a hero. This was a cute little girly-girl story that I'm sure the intended audience will love. It pretty much reads like a cartoon show episode with a few good lessons thrown in. The artwork is simplistic, drawn with the basic shapes. It is the type that children will be able to sit down and copy their favourite characters and in fact there is a Fashion Kitty drawing lesson at the back of the book. The book is mostly what I call fluff, cute fluff though, and little girls with a flare for fashion will certainly enjoy Fashion Kitty. 3/5
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