Book review: It’s Me, by Jim Benton

Benton, Jim. It’s Me. (Catwad series, book 1). Graphix, 2019. $8.99. ISBN 9781338326024. 125 Pages. Ages 8-12. P8 Q7

Blumrp, an enthusiastic cat, annoys a cranky Catwad in this collection of short comic stories. Blumrp is overly energetic and sees the positive in everything. Catwad is like Grumpy Cat. When Blumrp asks Catwad if he likes him better than pizza, if it was covered in poison and toenails? Catwad replies that he guesses he would like him more. Blumrp says “OMG you are my best friend too!” Fast paced, brightly colored cartoons on glossy paper will keep the reader engaged. Includes a special preview of Catwad #2, which came out in September. Book three is scheduled to be come out in April 2020.

Verdict: Humorous, funny, where the cats feed off each other in their dialogue. The humor is zany and slapstick. I found myself laughing out loud while I read the comics. The perfect choice for reluctant readers. While one may think of comics being for young readers, this comic book is for a bit older reader due to its sarcastic humor. If you want to laugh, I recommend this comic.

November 2019 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: Glitch, by Sarah Graley

Graley, Sarah. Glitch. Graphix, 2019. $14.99.  ISBN 9781338174519. 187 pages. Ages 8-12. P8 Q8

Izzy and Eric are excited for the new video game Dungeon City to come out. They have a weekend of gaming all planned. When Izzy gets home from school, she finds a package with her game in it. Izzy is torn between wanting to play the game and keeping her promise to Eric. Surely it won’t hurt to play just a little bit of the game. The adventure that ensues is much more than what Izzy had anticipated. The pages where Izzy is in the game have black borders around them, making it easier for the reader to tell the present from the video game apart. This graphic novel is LGBTQ inclusive. Eric, Izzy’s friend, uses she/her pronouns and the robot, Rae, uses they/them pronouns. The graphic novel accurately portrays how video games have a tendency to take the place of friendships.

Verdict: Readers will relate to Izzy and how enticing video games are. Twists and turns  will keep readers engaged. I work as a media specialist and I had a few students preview the book. All the students thought it looked engaging and I have a list of students waiting to check it out.

September 2019 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: Supernova, by Kazu Kabuishi

Kabuishi, Kazu. Supernova. (Amulet series). Graphix/Scholastic, 2018. 197p. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-545-82860-4. Ages 10-14. P8Q8

After ten years, the epic Amulet series is one book away from its finale, and the eighth book sets the foundation for the culmination of Emily’s work to save worlds beyond the Earth. She returns to Alledia and frees the elves despite her lack of magic stone control and imprisonment in the Void throughout adventures showing personal growth, family, and courage. As in earlier books, brilliant color highlights the battles and fast-paced activity with strange creatures and vivid Gaboda trees. Kabuishi also transfers much of the plot to focus on Emily’s younger brother, Navin.

Verdict: Lovers of this series will continue to be fascinated with the ongoing saga; those who read this without the earlier books will return to pick them up.

June 2019 review by Nel Ward.

Book review: Kristy’s Big Day, by Gale Galligan, based on the novel by Ann M. Martin

Galligan, Gale. Kristy’s Big Day. (The Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels, #6). Based on the novel by Ann M. Martin. Graphix/Scholastic, 2018. $10.99. ISBN 9781338067613. 153 Pages. Ages 8-12. P7 Q8

Kristy’s life is about to change. Her mother is marrying Watson and due to the sale of their house, they only have two and a half weeks to plan a wedding. Kristy is excited because she gets to be a bridesmaid, but she has questions about what it means to be a step kid. It will require moving across town and blending into a family with other siblings. Her new siblings assure her that it may be a bit scary, but together they will work it out. With fourteen children coming to town for the wedding, the baby-sitter club is busy for a week providing care and activities for the children. This graphic novel includes 13 chapters. The illustrations show intricate details and the characters’ eyes are large and expressive. There is a journal entry in some of the chapters from members of the Baby-Sitters Club, which adds a bit of a personal touch to the graphic novel. This book is the 6th in the series, but can stand alone.

Verdict: Children who are entering into a blended family will be able to relate to Kristy and her new family. The adventures the Baby-Sitters Club will entertain readers. Being the sixth in the series, readers will enjoy the familiar characters as they have another adventure.

January 2019 review by Tami Harris.


Book review: Lord of the Fleas, Dav Pilkey

Pilkey, Dav. Lord of the Fleas. (Dog Man series, book 5). Graphix/Scholastic Inc., 2018. $9.99. ISBN 9780545935173. 251 pgs. Ages 7-10. P7Q8

The book begins with the cartoon characters George and Harold, 5th graders, who open  with a tease of what’s to come in this silly yet meaningful story. Next, a brief introduction to Dog Man, a half dog half man crime-fighting sensation, which is a welcome review to newcomers to the series. Then the story begins, featuring Petey, “one supa evil enemy” and Li’l Petey, his clone, who is the “world’s greatest kitty.”  With the help of Li’l Petey, Petey is trying to do the right thing after being wronged by his friends. With lots of knock knock jokes throughout, and several “Flip-O-Rama segments, this graphic novel features a sincere message: there’s hope among life’s disappointments. The “Read to Your Cat, Kid!” section at the end is not to be missed.

Verdict: This graphic novel, full of lively pictures illustrating the engaging story makes reading fun and therefore an important addition to classrooms and libraries.

February 2019 review by Denyse Marsh.

Book review: Graveyard Shakes, by Laura Terry

Terry, Laura. Graveyard Shakes. Graphix/Scholastic, 2017. $12.99. 203p. ISBN 978-0-545-88954-4. Ages 8-12. P7Q6

Bullied sisters and scholarship students at a boarding school, Katia and Victoria, are miserable in different ways. Victoria hides from people, and Katia makes sure she stands out. They meet the underworld in a cemetery where a doctor is trying to keep his son, Modie, alive by feeding him a child’s life every 13 years and thinks that Katia is a prime candidate.

Verdict: Although the illustrations in the graphic novel are well-done and characters easily identified, their behavior appears far over the edge. Katia is just too mousy, and Victoria is too blatant in her behavior. Only Little Ghost, who is afraid of other ghosts but likes the almost-dead Modie, is likable. The chaotic plot skips around, and the characters are stereotypical with no background. Raina Telgemeier’s Ghosts is far better.

December 2017 review by Nel Ward

Book review: Mystery of the Ghost Ship, by Philip Pullman, illustrated by Fred Fordham

Pullman, Philip. Mystery of the Ghost Ship. Illus. by Fred Fordham. (The Adventures of John Blake series). Graphix/Scholastic, 2017. $19.99. 160p. ISBN 978-1-338-14912-8. Ages 10-14. P8Q9

Magnificent scenes of a 1920s sailing ship that goes through different times, sometimes full page, alternate with panels that expand the plot about a wealthy communications CEO who wants to destroy the schooner. Serena, a girl lost at sea during a contemporary sailing trip with her Australian parents and brother, is rescued by a diverse crew also rescued at sea—John Blake in 1929, Marcus Tullius Pallas from ancient Rome, Sammy Wu in the 1890s, a Barbary slave from 1614—and becomes the catalyst for rescuing the Mary Alice.

Verdict: Carnegie award winner Pullman’s first original graphic novel, originally serialized in The Phoenix, is a masterpiece, full of adventure in such diverse settings as London, Fiji, and San Francisco. This David Fickling book lives up to his reputation of superb books.

December 2017 review by Nel Ward