Tuesday, December 1, 2015

GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEWS: Old School by Jeff Kinney/Hilo by Judd Winick


In the latest installment of the phenomenally bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, author-illustrator Jeff Kinney brings the series back to its roots, as Greg starts a new school year and faces a challenge he never could've imagined.


I confess, I am not really the best audience for these books. I find Greg rather obnoxious, which is typical of some teenagers, so I shouldn't be too surprised. But I did find myself empathizing more with Greg in this one as he heads off to an electronics-free camp with some of his schoolmates in order to avoid his father after a car disaster.  At this camp, Greg and his bunkmates get themselves in trouble by using sweat to fill the water bucket (which is then used for showers, ewww), leaving their dirty clothes everywhere, and generally making a mess.  But the ultimate hijinks occur when Greg's dad shows up to take the place of Rowley's dad who had to go home.  Various other disasters occur that Greg has to deal with.  While I winced at some of the gross body humor, I laughed at some of the references being 'old school' because I remember some of those things.  Kids are bound to love this one as much as they have all the others.  Kinney just seems to understand what being human is all about and the power of Murphy's law. 


Introducing HILO—a funny, action-packed, full-color new middle-grade graphic novel series that Bone creator Jeff Smith calls “delightful.”

D.J. and his friend Gina are totally normal kids. But that was before a mysterious boy came crashing down from the sky! Hilo doesn’t know where he came from, or what he’s doing on Earth. (Or why going to school in only your underwear is a bad idea!) . . . But what if Hilo wasn’t the only thing to fall to our planet? Can the trio unlock the secrets of his past? Can Hilo survive a day at school? And are D.J. and Gina ready to save the world?

HILO is Calvin and Hobbes meets Big Nate and is just right for fans of Bone and comic books as well as laugh-out-loud school adventures like Jedi Academy and Wimpy Kid!


Cool alien boy with superpowers? Check!  Great friendships? Check!  Explosions and mayhem? Check! Winick has created a delightful new hero, flaws and all.  I found Hilo's attempts to adjust to earth life quite funny (he thinks Aaaah! is a greeting and uses it as such which caused me to snicker every time he does it).  D.J.'s efforts to help this unusual boy by providing clothes, food, and a place to sleep are commendable as well as stressful.  The renewing of D.J.'s friendship with Gina adds depth to the story since both kids have changed a bit since they last saw each other.  D.J.'s growing confidence in himself and that he is good at something also adds nicely to the story line.  The art is bright and colorful and very eye-catching.  I very much think that children will love this beginning to a new series and I myself look forward to reading future volumes.

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