Friday, March 20, 2009

Stinky by Eleanor Davis

This is similar to an "I can read" book for beginning readers, only in graphic novel/comic format. The illustrations are so cute and endearing I absolutely fell in love with this book after I read it. I am hoping Eleanor Davis is concocting a series of Stinky books!

Stinky is a monster of the swamp who loves everything gross, including his pet toad, Wartbelly! He loathes children and is beside himself when a kid actually builds a treehouse in his swamp!! He thinks of "gross" things to do to the boy to make him scared of the swamp, and in the end is surprised by a wonderful friendship! An adorable book!

A Theodore Seuss GeiselAward Honoree of 2008

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Best graphic novels of 2008

Best graphic novels of 2008: "
Granted, “best of” lists are always subjective, and considering the number of new books released every year, I never expect to see many...

Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator by Sarah C. Campbell; photographs by Richard Paul Campbell

A very informative non-fiction book on the habits of the carnivorous Wolfsnail who eats smaller snails and slugs...sometimes the snail and the entire shell! The book has beautiful large color photographs of this snails ascent up a plant to feed on another snail. At the back of the book is a useful section with more information about Wolfsnails and their habitats.

An excellent read for ages 4-8. It also won as a Geisel Honor book this year.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson; illustrated by Beth Krommes

What a wonderful book!!! A simple and beautiful bedtime read for children. It focuses on the things at night that are a comfort and will help the little ones sleep! The illustrations are done in scratchboard, a technique that involves scratching away the black to reveal white lines, interspersed with a yellow warm glow on specific objects. I loved exploring the images and finding something new. I think children will delight in this book and will want it read over and over again. A great read aloud for toddlers and for beginning readers.
This was also the Caldecott Award winner for this year. Highly recommended!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bodies From the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past by James M. Deem

This was a wonderful and fascinating book! Although a bit morbid since it deals with the recovery of bodies that have been preserved by glaciers, I was overall very impressed with how many photos and images were in the book. It was interesting to read all the information about glaciers and how they are slowly melting away, and may cease to exist one day. It is a very visual book with tons of scientific findings. I think kids will find this book intriguing and exciting.

I would recommend this book for ages 9 and up!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Owly: The Way Home & The Bittersweet Summer by Andy Runton

This is the first of five volumes based on the character Owly by Andy Runton! They are all wordless graphic novels and absolutely adorable! I have include a few images below from the novel itself.
Owly is a lovable owl who is lonely and is seeking friendship and acceptance. He saves a small worm, whom he becomes the best of friends with (a very unlikely friendship indeed)!!! :) A great read for any age!!! Especially for English Lanuguage students, since any of the volumes can be adapted to any language! Even children who are barely learning to read will feel a sense of accomplishment to read this 156 page book based on images, symbols, and expressions.

I haven't read volumes 2 to 5 yet, but they are on my list!

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman; illustrated by Dave McKean

The Graveyard Book is a haunting story about a boy named Nobody (Bod) Owens. When he is a toddler his whole family is murdered by a man named Jack; luckily Bod escapes to the graveyard down the street. Mr. and Mrs. Owens, ghosts in the graveyard, agree to raise him as their own son. Although he is human, he receives the freedom of the graveyard and is graced with the secrets of the ghosts. The story revolves around Bod’s many adventures in the graveyard and small village with ghouls, witches, and school bullies. He learns many lessons from his guardian Silas and his teacher Miss Lupescu, and he is rescued from quite a few sticky situations. All the while Bod is still being hunted by Jack. The tale has many strong and powerful characters that help shape Bod’s life and education in the graveyard. Readers witness Bod’s journey of growing into a young man until he is able to leave the graveyard and live on his own. Gaiman’s style of writing fills the reader with wonder and a sense of mystery. The story pulls together strongly at the end and even has a surprise twist that will keep readers guessing. Gaiman weaves a story that will fascinate and engage readers young and old.

I absolutely loved reading this book and I loved the illustrations too! The same illustrator who illustrated The Wolves in the Walls for Gaiman also did this book. They have collaborated on many novels together, including Coraline. I read this for my class and was surprised to hear that a number of my fellow students didn't like the book at all, a lot of them felt it was a lower read, maybe for 5th & 6th graders! I completely disagree, and would love to find out who else loved the book like me! I feel it is a read that could be read easily by 5th graders, but that high schoolers and adults will enjoy the book as well. If anyone else has read this I would love to hear your comments on the book! It recently won the Newbery Award, and I can see why. I love Gaiman's style and felt the whole book tied together beautifully.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean

I just read The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Dave McKean. He is probably most famous for his graphic novels, Coraline (which is out in theatres now), and his newest The Graveyard Book (The Newbery Winner...I will review this one later).

The Wolves in the Walls is an absolutely terrifying story! The illustrations add a very eerie quality to the story, but are fascinating to look at, they seem to be collages mixed with drawings, and maybe even photographs. Here is a sample of one of the pages of the stories I found on Amazon:

Lucy starts to hear things in the walls and tells her Mom, Dad, and Brother that there are Wolves in the walls...her Mom says it must be mice, her Dad says it must be rats, and her Brother says it must be bats, but they all agree that if "the wolves come out of the walls, it's all over!!" To Lucy's dismay no one seems to know "what" is all over. The Wolves do come out of the walls and Lucy and her family flee down to the garden. The Wolves take over their home and her parents and brother discuss moving to different countries, but Lucy just wants to live in their home again. Lucy finally convinces her family to go and live in the walls of their home. Once her family sees the Wolves wearing their clothes, playing her brothers video games, and getting jam all over everything, they decide they are going to rightfully take their home back!! Once they come out of the walls the Wolves yell "And when the people come out of the walls, it's all over!!"

I really enjoyed the story, but then again I quite like scary, strange, and weird stories!! I don't think I would recommend this to young children who are easily scared! I would recommend to older children...maybe ages 7 and up! Having the book in the picture book area will cause confusion! And there could be kids out there who really enjoy strange and wild stories like this one!!