Five Simple Things from C.J. Tilley

Five Simple Things It’s Easy to Overlook About Comics by C.J. Tilley

So… this is really cool. A great article in School Library Journal that deals very candidly with the comics in the classroom issue. It offers a brief history of comics in America and then delves into things even we champions of the medium overlook. The main point here is… no, comics are not a fix-all-your-problems-and-turn-every-student-into-a-reader holy grail type tool, but they ARE a great resource that meet many a standard AND they definitely belong in schools. My favorite point in the whole article? “It’s OK to call them comics…”

Hera’s Glory

Hera: The Goddess and Her Glory by George O’Connor

The third installment in this ongoing series about the fabled Olympians, Hera is probably the best yet. And that’s saying something: the others are Good.

When Zeus takes on Hera as his first (and only) wife, he gets a whole lot more than he bargained for. Unlike his previous queens (none of which he ever married), Hera refuses to tolerate his straying ways and exacts justice on Zeus and his mistresses in creative ways. She is particularly annoyed at one of Zeus’ most famous children: Heracles (or Hercules, as many of us know him). It is the relationship between these two characters that is the driving force behind the plot of this book.

In return for nursing him as a baby and saving his life, Hera requires that, as an adult, Heracles must suffer twelve labors in order to take his place on Olympus with the rest of the gods. And so the story of these labors unfolds and we, as readers, Continue reading

There’s Always Time to be Dapper

Return of the Dapper Men by Jim McCann; illustrated by Janet Lee

(Grades 4 & Up) Tick… tock… tick… tock… Click. Time has stopped on the world of Anorev and the inhabitants, caught in a day with no sunset, have forgotten their purpose. The machines that live above ground keep plodding away at pointless tasks and the children, who can never grow old, have moved underground to their own, demented Neverland. Endless play, endless work; an unpalatable staleness perpetuates the world and no one wonders if there is anything else. Except for Ayden and Zoe, two young companions: one human, one robot. They have a feeling that behind the baited breath of their world there is something waiting to happen- if they could only figure out what. Then, with the clanging of an immense clock, Continue reading

Amelia Rules: If Peanuts Went to Middle School

Amelia Rules! Superheroes by Jimmy Gownley

Superheroes is the third book in the Amelia Rules! series and although it is not the latest, it is possibly my favorite- and an excellent jumping on point for any of you wishing to start reading this series, which I recommend that you do if you like wonderful characters, solid writing, snortin’ good humor, and heart-wrenching moments all rolled into one. And who doesn’t? All zombies reading this post, refrain from replying, please. I see you out there, don’t think I don’t!

As Amelia says in the first couple pages, “There is nothing in the world like the last day of school… it feels like time is standing still.” She and her friends are on the cusp of summer vacation and all the breathy magic that entails.They have the wonder of nothing to do for a few months Continue reading

Pet Avengers: Eat Your Heart Out

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Sidekicks by Dan Santat

From the jacket flap: “Captain Amazing, hero of Metro City, is so busy catching criminals that he rarely has time for his pets at home. He doesn’t even notice when they develop super powers of their own.

So when he announces that he needs a sidekick, his dog, hamster, and chameleon each decide to audition. But with each pet determined to win the sidekick position, the biggest battle in Metro City might just be at the Captain’s house.

Then archvillain Dr. Havoc returns to town, and suddenly the Captain’s in serious trouble. Can the warring pets put their squabbles aside? Or is it curtains for the Captain?”

Sounds like a fairly stereotypical superhero story, doesn’t it? And on one level, it is. In this fun romp of a story, just like Pixar did with The Incredibles, creator Dan Santat is playing with common superhero stereotypes (as well as pet stereotypes, animal stereotypes, friendship stereotypes, etc.) in order to give everyone something they’re Continue reading

Guinea PI: Hamster and Cheese

Guinea PI: Hamster and Cheese by Colleen AF Venable; illustrated by Stephanie Yue
New books! One of the best parts about being a librarian is getting that brand-spanking new budget all ready to go and finally ordering those new books you’ve been salivating over for the past few months. Then, when the day arrives and you see that big brown box full of wonderful new stories… it’s like Christmas, but better- there are no awkward gifts to sort through, you got everything you asked for this time. For me, a brand new box of graphic novels is especially exciting because I know that every single one of them is going to circulate, and circulate a lot. And since kids comics just seem to be getting better and better these days, they’re helping to create a new generation of readers brought up on quality material who can’t help but fall in love with reading because of the sheer joy they get from it.
Anyway, enough heavy stuff… on to the review. One of the first titles to pop out of the box when I opened it up was Colleen AF Venable’s Guinea PI: Hamster and Cheese. This one is the first in a series (no worries, I ordered all that are currently in existence), and from what I can tell, we’re off to a good, humorous start. Continue reading