Bird & Squirrel books by James Burks

Sometimes we underestimate the attention span of our youngest children. When I saw the first Bird and Squirrel book, I thought of my 7-year-old son, someone who loves reading but may need a nudge to get interested in a new series or even genre. He has not had much experience with graphic novels, so I thought he would enjoy the book.

To my great surprise, it was my toddler daughter who was drawn to the zany illustrations and the fun story. She insisted that I read every frame in the book. Although she is young, I  was delighted to see her enjoying and responding to a different type of picture book.Continue Reading

Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite by Barry Deutsch

I really enjoyed reading the first Hereville graphic novel, so when I saw the next one on netgalley, I was eager to revisit Mirka’s somewhat bizarre world. Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite by Barry Deutsch (published November 2012) is another look at the spunky young Jewish girl who has fantastic adventures in her small community.

In the first volume, Mirka fights a troll in order to win a sword, but her battle ends up being different from what she expected! In this second volume, Mirka learns that a meteorite is coming to the earth. The witch helps her by transforming the meteorite, but it was not quite what she was expecting! Once again, Mirka must come to terms with herself in the humorous challenge she faces in this volume.

Hereville is such a blend of creativity that I really enjoy reading it, and I imagine the intended audience (young middle grade readers) loves it far more than I do! It has a strong strand of Jewish culture, but it also is a fantasy, an adventure, and a tale of a girl dealing with bullies, family, and basic pre-teen difficulties. I am not Jewish and I loved the glimpse at an Orthodox Jewish family and community. In general, I really like the world Barry Deutsch has created, and I’m glad he’s continued Mirka’s saga in this second volume of her adventures.

Note: I read a digital review copy from the publisher via Netgalley for review consideration.

Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle

I don’t normally read memoirs, but I’m finding that I really love to read political or journalistic memoirs when they are in graphic novel form. They are a fast read, and I learn so much about a different country’s political situation in a new perspective. I love that I can see the country via a comic. Of course, the danger of reading a political memoir is that it is obviously skewed toward one person’s perspective: I cannot see the entire picture.

In the case of Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea, Guy Delisle’s perspective may be one of the few such memoirs of a visit to North Korea. Although I knew that North Korea was a communist nation, the facts that Delisle shares of his two months working there are quite astonishing. It’s hard to believe that such a dystopian country exists contemporary to my own. For the less ignorant, Pyongyang won’t be a shock. Regardless, the comic reads like a novel, and I’m glad for the glimpse into a world I didn’t quite know existed as such.Continue Reading

Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood by Tony Lee

I was not in the mood for trying to write about Paradise Lost last night, so I thought I’d take a Milton break and read something else on my shelf. After I finished I Kill Giants (read my thoughts) two weeks ago, I’d felt a strange compulsion to go check out some more graphic novels. It’s only strange because I have never felt that before! Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood caught my attention from the YA shelf at the library, and last night was the perfect time for a little folkloric fun.Continue Reading