Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Four Graphic Novel Reviews!


Now that Arnie has conquered the bowling alley and the planet Ufonut, he's back for another round of wild adventures. This time the venue is a traveling game show (in the spirit of WIPEOUT!) that comes to town. Arnie, Peezo, and their other friends can't wait to participate in the crazy obstacle course. But Arnie and his crew are in for a challenge once they see their competition!


Arnie and Peezo are back in an all new adventure.  This time they are excited to be participating in their favorite 'reality' show called The Spinny Icky Showdown.  But with a pickpocket hiding amongst the participants and Peezo's fear of the Pumpernator (a pumpernickel loaf who is very muscly) threaten to ruin things for everyone.  But Arnie steps in and makes a choice that changes everything and the chaos that ensues is quite hilarious.  It amazes me that I find these so funny.  I'm not sure what it is but kids seem to like it too, whether it is the wordplay or just the plain silliness of it all, this series is a sure fire winner for those reluctant readers who like chapter books but love lots of illustrations with their text.


When Kitty is happy and healthy, everything is perfect. She jumps around, eats everything in sight, and has the energy to keep slobbering puppies in their place. But when she's sick, all she can do is lie in her bed. Looks like it's time for this sick kitty to go...to the vet.

When Kitty's family finally manages to get their clawing, angry pet into the doctor's office, it's a wild adventure for Kitty, who has to get the most dreaded thing of all...a shot. Once the shot is administered, Kitty is cast into an ingenious dream within a dream sequence in which she has to make right by Puppy or risk being shut out of PussyCat heaven forever.

This ninth installment of the popular Bad Kitty series from Nick Bruel is chock-full of brilliant supporting characters and, of course, the crankiest bad kitty you've ever seen.


Bad Kitty Goes to the Vet provides the same humor and surprises that all it's predecessors have provided.  Bad Kitty is her ornery self, she's just sick, but when her owner tries to put her in the cat carrier, violence results.  Only through the use of trickery does Kitty get carried off to the vet's where the animals stare in awe at her shaking and bouncing carrier.  But the vet knows what he's doing and manages to contain her long enough to put her to sleep which leads Kitty into a dream world where she may not get into PussyCat heaven unless she performs an act of kindness toward Puppy.  Her attempts to perform this act of kindness are hilarious and predictably don't go according to plan (Bad Kitty being nice, who's going to believe it, certainly not Uncle Murphy).  Young readers who've enjoyed the other Bad Kitty books are bound to enjoy this one as well (I can't keep them on the shelf in my library).



Cleopatra's space adventure in the REALLY far future continues!

When a mysterious thief steals the ancient sword Cleo recovered in CLEOPATRA IN SPACE, BOOK ONE: TARGET PRACTICE, Cleo is determined to get it back, but her teachers at Yasiro Academy forbid her from risking her life. Stuck at school, Cleo is having a hard time adjusting to her newfound popularity and responsibility. And when she learns more about the prophecy that names her the savior of the galaxy and the time tablets that could decide her fate, she must go on a dangerous journey to find them before they can fall into the wrong hands.


Cleopatra in Space is one of those series that you want to pick up the next book as soon as you've finished it.  The action moves at a rapid clip and Cleopatra is always ready and willing for the next fight.  When the sword that Cleopatra worked so hard to retrieve in book 1 is stolen, Cleopatra does her best to stop the thief.  Unfortunately, she's called off after helping to cause a great deal of destruction to the school.  This leaves Cleopatra confused and resentful.  But when one of her friends informs her that her presence in the future is connected to some time tablets that could send her home before she fulfills the prophecy, Cleopatra and her friends determine to find them before the bad guys do.  The colors and action in this book are amazing and very eye-catching.  This series is bound to be popular in most libraries that serve young readers.


Araminta Ross was born a slave in Delaware in the early 19th century. Slavery meant that her family could be ripped apart at any time, and that she could be put to work in dangerous places and for abusive people. But north of the Mason-Dixon line, slavery was illegal. If she could run away and make it north without being caught or killed, she’d be free. Facing enormous danger, Araminta made it, and once free, she changed her name to Harriet Tubman. Tubman spent the rest of her life helping slaves run away like she did, every time taking her life in her hands. Nathan Hale tells her incredible true-life story with the humor and sensitivity he’s shown in every one of the Hazardous Tales—perfect for reluctant readers and classroom discussions.


The sheer amount of work that Hale puts into this series astounds me.  The amount of information conveyed through both the text and graphics makes this series a truly winning combination.  I even learned a lot of things about Harriet Tubman and the amazing woman she was.  While Hale doesn't shy away from the horrid nature of slavery, he doesn't get too graphic, although sensitive young readers may have a hard time with some of the experiences that Harriet underwent.  But sadly that was the reality of her life.  The fact that she never lost her spirit and will to live is truly inspiring.  Her courage in returning south after finally making her escape shows how deeply she cared for her family and others still living in slavery.  Her efforts as well as her strong religious faith and the visions she had lead to her being called the Moses of her people.  After the Civil War started she helped the Union win the war by collecting information and encouraging slaves to leave their masters. A fascinating tale told in a way that is bound to draw young readers by the boat load.


  1. You need Stick Dog Tries to Take the Donuts. You just do. I also like Arnie, but Stick Dog is hilarious. I love it when the humor has something in it to appeal to adults as well.

    1. Hmm. Haven't read any Stick Dog books yet, definitely needs to go on my TBR list and my order list for my library.


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