Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cybils Elementary & Middle Grade Graphic Novel Finalists

www.cybils.comI called to me all the Cybils Early Chapter Book finalists from my excellent library, which has almost everything anyone could want. King County Library System Rocks! And if occasionally I think of something they don't have, they either find it for me somewhere else or else get it for me because I'm special. Just like everyone else.

You wouldn't tell it from my reviews, but I'm actually doing fairly well on my Cybils Finalist Challenge -- I think I'm at 52 books (I don't do the apps). If I ever finish early I'll start a lifetime Challenge to catch up the years before I started doing this -- I think I started with the 2010 list but they started in 2006.

If I haven't messed them up, the book titles below should be Amazon links that benefit the Cybils, so if anyone wants to buy these books, use that.

Bluffton: My Summers with Buster Keaton, Matt Phelan. The water color illustrations give this a gentle, old-time feeling that suits the optimistic story of a small town boy intersecting with the exotic Buster Keaton. Even as we watch the boy struggling against the conformity of his life the love and affection his family and friends show him correctly predict that he'll find happiness. It held my middle school boy's attention.

 Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite, Barry Deutsch. This felt a bit "lesson-y" to me -- Mirka must learn to conform more to her gender role but without giving up her dreams. Except when her dreams are foolish (and there are foolish dreams -- wanting to be great without wanting to work for it, for example). Mirka is saved by her clever siblings instead of by herself, but then she did save them all at the start of the book.

Both boys read it and seemed happy enough. X was more positive than me.

 March Book 1, John Lewis. This was very powerful, and also accessible to me. I don't know much about this part of history so I liked reading about a memoir that gave a feel for how people felt and acted.

X thought it was all right; P never picked it up.

 Monster on the Hill, Rob Harrell. This was jolly, a bit gory, and a lot of fun. The switches between sympathizing with the people and the monsters was well done, and the bright colors and active panel sizes matched the story and characters well. This was a lot of fun and unexpectedly emotionally powerful.

Both kids ate it up.

  Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Donner Dinner Party Nathan Hale. Both X and I enjoy the Nathan Hale books, swallowing the historical medicine easily with the spoonful of grim humor and careful drawings. This story is especially dark, with death piled upon death and no escape for the young or likable.

I think P skipped it; probably just as well. X was an enthusiast; in fact I just brought home one about WWI and he's gobbling it up.

Squish #5: Game On!,  Jennifer L. Holm. Fun, and I've been been meaning to try these. I don't think starting with #5 made me lose much -- the relationships seem pretty straightforward and the story likewise. Pleasant but not lingering.

Both boys zipped through this. I tried to interest the beginning reader but he didn't bite.

The Lost Boy, Greg Ruth. I was impressed by how spooky this story was -- I think it's right on the border between this category and the older one. The drawing was also impressive, although the darkness made it hard for my barely-graphically-literate eyes to keep track of the characters. This is all me -- I have a feeble visual memory and tend to have huge troubles distinguishing characters in comics, which my children find highly amusing.

I'm not sure if the junior high boy finished this, but the high schooler liked it.

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