November 12, 2009

A Trio of Kid's Graphic Novels

Today's post contains mini reviews of recent kid's graphic novels I've read. The first two are Cybils nominees and the third is one that my son read to me.

Binky The Space Cat by Ashley Spires, 2009, 64 pgs, Ages 7-10, Cybils Nominee. Received a review copy from the publisher. - Binky came to live with his humans as a kitten. He is all grown up and he loves his humans. He has discovered many things about the world with the most important being aliens. Humans call them bugs but cats know better. He decides to leave his space station (house) so he can spend his life saving the universe from aliens but first he must build a rocket. While building his rocket he also spends his time saving his own humans from the aliens but when the rocket is finished he finds he has left something very important behind. This is a truly adorable book! I enjoyed every single frame of it. The story has an amazingly full plot for such a short number of pages. Binky will capture the heart of the intended audience right away. I also hazard a guess that Binky would be enjoyed by cat lovers of any age. The book is very funny, I caught myself giggling out loud more than once. The humour comes out in the illustrations which one wants to linger over as they are full of detail. The author's graphic style of drawing the characters: Binky and the humans (a single mom and her son) are unique and very eye catching. The whole book is done in shades of grey, with faint browns and blues and eye catching pops of red here and there. Gorgeous to look at. A great, fun read that kids are going to love. Recommended! 5/5

Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel, 2009, 159 pgs, Cybils Nominee. Borrowed a copy from the library. - This is a strange book to have ended up in the graphic novels category for the Cybils nominations as I wouldn't really, at first, have considered it a graphic novel. There are no frames or bubbles and the whole story is told by a narrator. However, the book is heavily graphically dependant and without the graphics there are many parts of the story that wouldn't make sense. Hence, I realistically (though grudgingly) can see its place as a graphic novel. I didn't like this book. It's Bad Kitty's birthday. He's so lazy he can't be bothered until he hears there are presents and cake. He has one thing he wants, a $600 super cat scratcher. Each unique guest arrives (the stinky kitty, the pretty kitty, etc.) bringing an appropriate gift but of course no $600 super cat scratcher. It's a lot of pages for a very simplistic plot, but then it's very full of illustrations. Spread through out the book are real life factual spreads about cats which seem to just pop up and while related to the story going on feel like a teacher stepped onto the scene and is giving a little lesson. I won't continue as it's not my practice to only make negative comments. Not recommended. 2/5

Rapunzel retold by Stephanie Peters, illustrated by Jeffrey Stewart Timmins, 2009, 33 pgs, RL 2.5, my son read aloud to me, received a review copy from Stone Arch Books - Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Just look at the cover illustration! All I can tell you is it just gets better once you open the book. The pages all have a very dark background, the witch is dark, her parents who give her away are drab browns and Rapunzel and the Prince are the only bright features in the artwork until the end. I'd recommend this book alone for the artwork! The story is true to the Bros. Grimm original, written at a low reading level it still manages to tell the story in a detailed manner. I love that this series of books keeps true to the original tales. This is the first time I've read a children's version of Rapunzel where she turns up pregnant at the end, as in the original. Probably not for too young of children as the illustrations are dark and when we see the Prince's eyes which have been pierced by thorns, it is a little gross. Highly recommended! 5/5

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