Monday, August 1, 2011

Hard Boiled For Kids: The Night Owls

I brought a few Cybils books along while visiting my brother's house, and offered the YA selections to my 14 year old nephew.  He read and enjoyed the Graphic Novel (YA) finalist The Night Owls Vol 1, by the Timony Twins, although I forgot to ask him why he liked it.  My twelve year old also enjoyed it, enough to reread it two times and pick it up again when he was trapped at a dinner with me with no book.  (The dinner was explicitly a reading meal, because my other son needed extra time to finish his family Book Club book.)

I found it an easy read, but not a beloved one.  I enjoyed the time period -- the book is set in flapper New York with slightly subverted stock characters; the mix of realism and fantasy elements is adeptly handled.  The characters were easy to tell apart, which is important to me because I'm terrible at this!  Or maybe I'm getting better; working my way through the graphic novel finalists may have taught me some comic reading skills.  The story lines tended to be very short; it read more like a compilation of a newspaper comic than a story in its own book, which didn't bother the kids at all but I found a bit dull. I suspect I would have liked it better in the original format, which come to think of it is more likely a web comic than a fuddy duddy old newsprint item.  In general a worthwhile read, but I probably won't work to find future volumes, although I won't avoid them if my son brings them home.

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