Kristy’s Great Idea

May 24, 2008

You can probably tell that I’m still in my graphic-novel phase, and when I found out there were graphic-novel versions of the first few books in the Baby-sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin, I knew I would be reading them as soon as I could. This is the first in the original series and the first in the graphic-novel series. I really enjoyed seeing the characters I love to read about in picture form. Raina Telgemeier did a great job adapting the story and drawing the characters. The novels are drawn in black and white, which did not bother me as I read, but now that I think about it, seeing them in color would have been more fun. Unlike the Nancy Drew graphic novel I reviewed last time, these books are true to the original stories. I’m glad Scholastic is re-issuing the books in this form. I really enjoyed them when I was younger (and still enjoy them today), and I’m happy young girls will get to meet Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey. There will be four books total: Kristy’s Great Idea, The Truth About Stacey, Mary Anne Saves the Day, and Claudia and the Mean Janine.

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The Demon of River Heights

May 16, 2008

This is the first book in the Nancy Drew Graphic Novel series. I was pretty excited when I picked it up since I always enjoyed reading Nancy Drew. Instead of being a recreation of the original first Nancy Drew book (The Secret of the Old Clock) this one is a modern story. I understand wanting to create contemporary characters for today’s young readers, but I missed the old Nancy, Bess, and George. The mystery was still there, though more technological with the use of cellphones and investigation of a filming crew’s disappearance. However, my least favorite aspect of the book: Modern Nancy Drew cannot remember to put gas in her car! I’m pretty sure Original Nancy Drew always remembered to fill up her blue roadster.

This is definitely worth a read – or maybe look since it’s a graphic novel and has more pictures than words. If this is how young readers today are introduced to Nancy Drew, it’s not a bad thing. I will be reading more.


Encyclopedia Brown

April 17, 2008

The first book in this series by Donald J. Sobol was released in 1963 but reissued in 1982, which allowed for a new generation of readers to meet the famous boy sleuth. The books center around a young boy who solves crimes in his hometown for customers during the summer when he runs a detective agency (only 25¢!) or for his father, the chief of police. Each book features 10 short mysteries for Encyclopedia and readers to solve and has a few reoccurring characters – Bugs Meany, the neighborhood bully who is often the reason for Encyclopedia’s many cases; and Sally Kimball, Encyclopedia’s feisty partner who has knocked out Bugs and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

I used to read this series when I was younger, and they are still enjoyable as an adult. Since the books were written in the ’60s, the language can be dated, but this usually just adds to the charm and humor. This series is definitely worth a try for fans of mysteries.


Not a Box

March 4, 2008

When I was younger, my sisters and cousins and I made a house out of a refrigerator box. I’m sure you or your kids enjoyed playing with boxes too, much like the rabbit in Not a Box by Antoinette Portis. The box that the rabbit plays with is not a box; it is a rocket ship, a race car, a mountain. With the simple line illustrations, children will be able to distinguish between what the adult sees – the rabbit and box drawn in black – and what the rabbit imagines – the created world drawn in red. The design of the book also cleverly reinforces the concept of cardboard.

Since being published in 2006, Not a Box has been distinguished as an ALA Notable Children’s Book and Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book. Portis currently has a sequel to Not a Box called Not a Stick.

Rating (out of 5): 5