Cupcake owns the Sweet Tooth bakery and is also a drummer in a band with his friend Eggplant. When he discovers that Eggplant’s Aunt in Turkey is friends with the famous pastry chef Turkish Delight, Cupcake realizes that he has sunk into a baking rut. Great news! Eggplant invites him along on his visit to Turkey where he will certainly find baking inspiration when he is able to meet his baking idol. Of course, there is just one problem – how can Cupcake afford such a trip? Hard work, determination and sacrifice pay off for him and he finds a way to purchase a ticket. But could there be yet another problem that Cupcake is faced with? You might enjoy finding out when you read this delightful graphic novel with its wonderful illustrations.
Posted by: Wendy
If you’ve read Alice in Wonderland, you might recall that when Alice first meets the White Rabbit, for some reason he thinks that she’s his maid, Mary Anne. Who IS Mary Anne? Where was she when Alice was in Wonderland? And what happens to her after Alice leaves? And what do all of the denizens of Wonderland think of Alice, given the wake of destruction she left behind her?
Kovac has created a wonderful world visually reminiscent of–but not derivative of–the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland, but full of the references to the original books by Lewis Carroll. Mary Anne, a girl obsessed with being tidy, finds herself on the run from the vicious Red Queen. Her only companion is her sentient, talking feather duster/bird, and her rollicking trip takes her down a treacle well, away from the Jabberwocky, and into a meeting with a mysterious new queen that no one has ever heard of before.
If you like well-written characters, amusing stories, Cheshire cats, and, of course, nonsense, this hilarious graphic novel is definitely for you.
Posted by: Sarah
One might think that elementary-aged kids wouldn’t understand the humor of noirish detectives like Sam Spade or books like The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep. When you stop to think about it, though, those books are full of clever wordplay and dangerous adventures, two things that are very appealing to young readers. What could make such a book more exciting to kids? Add humor. And also bugs.
The first Joey Fly: Private Eye book was published in 2009, and kids have been laughing uproariously about it ever since–now there’s a sequel to keep them laughing even longer. Joey Fly is a detective in Bug City, a squalor-filled metropolis that is paradise for bugs. In this latest adventure, Joey (and his hilariously annoying sidekick Sammy the Scorpion) have been hired by an enormous tarantula (and theater director) to find a kidnapped butterfly–a famous actress. Joey and Sammy find themselves confused, befuddled, and ultimately in danger, but without ever missing an opportunity for a deadpan quip. Who stole The Painted Lady? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
Posted by: Sarah
It can be hard to find a beginning chapter book that is also a great story, but Frankie Pickle manages to be both. Frankie Pickle is part chapter book, part comic book, with chapters alternating between traditional text and comic style illustrations.
The Closet of Doom begins with Frankie being “incarcerated” in his room by “The Warden” (a.k.a. his mother) until his room is clean. Frankie’s overactive imagination allows us to see him sitting in his room/prison cell, doomed for a life behind bars counting the minutes until he will be free. But soon, Frankie discovers an evil robot lurking under his dirty laundry, waiting to attack. He drops his prison confines and switches to superhero mode, fighting the evil robot to protect the Metropolitan Metropolis of Metro City. Frankie’s imagination takes him through several other adventurous scenarios until finally, he faces the Closet of Doom head on and gets his room clean.
The humor is spot on for younger elementary aged children as is the fast-paced, adventurous nature of this book. Fans of Captain Underpants and Baby Mouse alike will find things to love about the wholesome, yet hilarious, Frankie Pickle.
Posted by: Kelly
How can you resist the tag line “Yet Another Troll-Fighting 11-Year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl”?
Yes, really: this is a graphic novel about Mirka, an Hasidic Jewish girl who lives in the completely Orthodox town of Hereville. She also happens to want to fight dragons and monsters–she always has. Make no mistake, although Hereville is a fictional town, Mirka’s world is a very normal, realistic one; no one ever thinks that Mirka really WILL find dragons and monsters to fight. One of the great charms of the story is the portrayal of Mirka’s large blended family, and the daily interaction between her sisters, brother, and stepsister. Her stepmother (NOT wicked) Fruma is a particularly wonderful character in her own right.
All of this domesticity notwithstanding, however, one day Mirka is running through the woods (fleeing some boys who she stopped from bullying her younger brother) and sees a woman flying through the air. Clearly this woman is a witch. It stands to reason! But nobody believes her about the witch, and REALLY nobody believes her about the enormous, talking pig that starts chasing her around town, causing her to behave in scandalous, unorthodox ways. In an effort to stop the pig from ruining her reputation, she sets out to trap the pig, encounters the witch again, and (naturally) ends up in a duel with a troll. And all of this with her brother Zindel constantly tagging along.
This book is hilarious and delightful, both in the text–which teaches the reader quite a bit about Judaism, without being didactic–and in the pictures–which are in a deceptively simple style slightly reminiscent of early-20th century cartoons or advertisements. I saw an interview with the author, who intimated that there might be future volumes of Mirka’s adventures, and I can only hope he was telling the truth. I’d love to read more about Hereville–after all, Mirka hasn’t even met a dragon yet.
Posted by: Sarah
Welcome to Mr. Venezi’s pet shop, where the last ‘G’ has fallen off the guinea pig’s cage. A Guinea PI? She must solve mysteries!
All Sasspants the guinea pig wants is to be left alone to read her books, but Hamisher the koala (well, actually he’s a hamster–Mr. V. is terrible at cage labeling) is desperate for her to solve the mystery of the missing sandwich!
A surly detective, an eager sidekick and a seemingly unsolveable mystery. The tension mounts! Will the heroes figure out who the sandwich thief is before Mr. V. (who blames the hamsters) gets rid of them all forever? This short, hilariously illustrated graphic novel (with a brand new sequel!) is perfect for 3rd to 4th graders, or anyone who loves absurdity and silliness. And guinea pigs.
Posted by: Sarah
Kate is back with a review of the graphic novel Greek Mythology:
It’s only been two months since our last video review, and we’re back with another!
Know a girl who likes Amelia’s Notebooks or Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Introduce them to The Popularity Papers, a new highly illustrated story (not _quite_ a paneled graphic novel) about the tribulations of best friends Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang as they try to learn how to be popular by infiltrating the various cliques in their 5th grade class. Their secret observations are to be written down (or drawn) and shared in their Learn/Improve notebook, shown to nobody but themselves.
Their first experiments are an unmitigated failure–Lydia almost bleaches herself bald, neither girl can figure out how to knit and their get-a-cellphone plan backfires dramatically. The worm soon turns, however. Musical Lydia rocks at the talent show, bookish Julie finds unexpected success at field hockey. They both make friends with different popular girls, and find themselves on the opposite sides of a campaign for class president–but will a single mistake/betrayal of trust ruin their friendship forever?
Posted by: Sarah
I remember well the evening that Elvis first waggled his pelvis across the television screens of America. We were having dinner at my aunt’s house and my older cousin was fidgeting and clock watching through the entire meal. She was pretty disruptive. With 12 kids between both our families, things could get fairly chaotic. Generally, only blood could bring dinner to a halt. For one tween to upset our unusually placid parents was pretty amazing.
Elvis Presley could do that to a kid. He did it to my cousin and he did to Mark Stamaty. Not to mention Marks’ mother who like so many other parents of her time saw Elvis and his ilk leading our nation’s youth down the road to perdition.
Stamaty’s slim, graphic book about his transformation from “good boy” to Elvis impersonator is funny, nostalgic and a very basic primer about the birth of rock ‘n roll. Ah, to be bad in the day when Elvis Presley was the biggest menace threatening our sons and daughters.
Being a political cartoonist by trade, his illustrations are first rate. He has a knack for capturing facial nuance. The graphic format lends itself well to telling a longish story in just.
Posted by: Eileen