Tuesday, June 24, 2014

GRAPHIC NOVELS: Delilah Dirk, Lunch Lady, & Nathan Hale (Isn't he dead already?)

I've been on a graphic novel kick lately, here is the first of several posts to come specifically on graphic novels.


Lovable ne'er-do-well Delilah Dirk has travelled to Japan, Indonesia, France, and even the New World. Using the skills she's picked up on the way, Delilah's adventures continue as she plots to rob a rich and corrupt Sultan in Constantinople. With the aid of her flying boat and her newfound friend, Selim, she evades the Sultan's guards, leaves angry pirates in the dust, and fights her way through the countryside. For Delilah, one adventure leads to the next in this thrilling and funny installment in her exciting life.

A little bit Tintin, a little bit Indiana Jones, Delilah Dirk is a great pick for any reader looking for a smart and foolhardy heroine...and globetrotting adventures.


Delilah Dirk finds trouble wherever she goes, often deliberately seeking it out.  Selim's life as a palace guard in Constantinople changes forever after he meets Delilah.  Forced to flee in order to save his neck, Selim finds himself blasting from one adventure to another without a chance to catch his breath.  Once he finally has a chance to stop and think, he wonders what he really wants out of life.

With lots of action mixed with a good dose of humor, Delilah Dirk was a very enjoyable read.  This is sure to be a popular graphic novel in many middle schools and high schools.  I found myself delighted with this book.  The only problem I had with it was that Delilah's outfit has a hole in the front that shows more of her chest than I'm comfortable with.  Why do so many graphic novels/comic books do this to women? Make them seem more of an object than a person?  However, Delilah's character and fighting prowess mostly make up for that, but that is the reason I can't recommend it for a younger age. There is nothing else inappropriate in the book though except a lot of fighting.


Lunch Lady and Betty have been unceremoniously cut from the school budget, and the timing couldn't be worse—the villains from all nine of her previous adventures are worming their way back into Thompson Brook with a masterfully devious plan. Will the Breakfast Bunch still be able to count on Lunch Lady's superhero gadgets and abilities to save the school, or are they on their own? Don't miss Lunch Lady's swashbuckling finale!


I'm sorry to say that this is the last in the fabulous Lunch Lady series.  But it sends the series out with a bang as Lunch Lady faces off with all of her previous adversaries.  This time it's going to take more than Betty and her awesome inventions to save the day.  I loved the fact that the kids help save the day as well as the role that the librarians play in the book (I love their powers even if they tend to use them for evil).  This is a delightful superhero series for younger readers who aren't ready for the more graphic and violent comic book type graphic novels. Highly recommended.


World War I set the tone for the 20th century and introduced a new type of warfare: global, mechanical, and brutal. Nathan Hale has gathered some of the most fascinating true-life tales from the war and given them his inimitable Hazardous Tales twist. Easy to understand, funny, informative, and lively, this series is the best way to be introduced to some of the most well-known battles (and little-known secrets) of the infamous war.


I've become a real fan of this series which addresses history topics in a very entertaining, appealing way. I especially appreciated the way that Hale represented each country with a different animal.  This helped keep the different armies and their actions separate.  Tackling the whole of World War I was rather ambitious, but the author/illustrator does a good job at hitting the highlights without getting bogged down.  The representation of war as a monster that grows in size and ferocity as the war gets worse and worse I thought was quite appropriate as it shows that war is not a good thing and the destruction that goes with it can't really be controlled by anyone.  The inclusion of Nathan Hale telling the story to the hangman and the British soldier adds some humor to a very humorless topic.  Well done, but since it does address war there are some fighting scenes, but the graphic nature of war is kept to a minimum.

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