Review of Sunny Side Up

holm_sunny side up

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm; 
illus. by Matthew Holm; color by Lark Pien Intermediate   Graphix/Scholastic   218 pp. 9/15   978-0-545-74165-1   $23.99 Paper ed. 978-0-545-74166-8   $12.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-545-74167-5   $12.99 Set largely during the summer of 1976, this semiautobiographical graphic novel from the brother-and-sister team behind the Babymouse series includes an […]

Niko and the Sword of Light app review

niko title screen

In Niko and the Sword of Light (Imaginism/Studio NX, 2013) the titular young boy is the only Warrior of the Light left. He has in his possession the last relic of his people: The Sword of Light. Forged by the gods, the sword is Niko’s key to saving his world by ridding it of the […]

Tales as old as time

book of greek myths

It should hardly come as a surprise to anyone that when it comes to the Disney princesses, I find myself identifying most with Belle, the brunette bookworm from Beauty and the Beast. The notion of a girl longing to escape her world through the pages of a story presented a strong parallel to my own […]

Picturing fantasy


Funny, action-packed, thought-provoking (and sometimes all of the above), these three graphic novels and one…well, what do you call Brian Selznick’s books? take readers on fantastic adventures. Brian Selznick defined his own format with The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck. He pushes the envelope even further in The Marvels. Black-and-white drawings (over four hundred […]

The value of the graphic novel


This year, I’ve really pushed my students to embrace graphic novels. It’s helped my low readers to access the same information as their peers, and although some students read it because it’s “easier,” they’re reading. What I find myself conflicted with now is that my school is part of the Accelerated Reader (AR) program, where […]

Review of Nimona


Nimona by Noelle Stevenson; illus. by the author Middle School, High School   HarperTeen   266 pp. 5/15   978-0-06-227823-4   $17.99 Paper ed. 978-0-06-227822-7   $12.99 Ballister Blackheart — ex-knight and current 
supervillain — is focused on the destruction of the Institute of Law Enforcement and Heroics. He also wouldn’t mind getting even with Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin, a knight-school […]

Review of March: Book Two

lewis_march bk 2

March: Book Two by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin; illus. by Nate Powell Middle School, High School   Top Shelf Productions   192 pp. 1/15   978-1-60309-400-9   $19.95   g Lewis and Aydin begin this second volume of the graphic memoir trilogy in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2009 (President Obama’s first inauguration), then they move back in time […]

Review of Macbeth


Macbeth by William Shakespeare; adapted and illustrated by Gareth Hinds Middle School, High School   Candlewick   146 pp. 2/15   978-0-7636-6943-0   $21.99 Paper ed. 978-0-7636-7802-9   $12.99 Whereas Romeo and Juliet received a striking makeover with a new setting and an ethnically diverse cast in Hinds’s graphic-novel version (rev. 11/13), he has chosen to remain faithful to the […]

Review of BirdCatDog


BirdCatDog [Three-Story Books] by Lee Nordling; illus. by Meritxell Bosch Primary    Graphic Universe/Lerner    32 pp. 11/14    Library ed.  978-1-4677-4522-2    $25.26 Paper ed.  978-1-4677-4523-9    $6.95 e-book ed.  978-1-4677-4524-6    $25.32 In this innovative wordless picture book told entirely through cartoon panels, three pets escape the ennui of domestication for brief, interconnected adventures in the wild. An introduction […]

Review of Tomboy


Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince; illus. by the author Middle School, High School   Zest Books   256 pp. 9/14   Paper ed. 978-1-936976-55-3   $15.99 e-book ed. 978-1-936976-56-0   $15.99 “When you don’t look or act like what everyone has been told is the norm, you get proverbially barfed on a lot.” In an often funny, sometimes […]