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Quest for Adventure

Quest for Adventure

posted by:
August 29, 2012 - 7:45am

Giants Beware!Poor Claudette. In Jorge Aguirre's Giants Beware!, her peaceful life within the fortress of Mont Petit Pierre is just not nearly exciting enough. Being a tomboy, the daughter of the town blacksmith, she is rambunctious and loudmouthed and yearns for action. Like killing the giant rumored to live on the mountain outside of town. With her timid brother Gaston and her ladylike friend Marie, she blusters her way out of the fortress gate and into the Forest of Death, beyond which lies the Mad River, and then Giant’s Peak.

 

Can these three kids, armed with a wooden sword, Marie’s intelligence, Gaston’s fortitude, Claudette’s stinky feet, and a pug dog named Valiant, survive in the wilderness and defeat the giant? Of course they can, but not in the ways they might have expected. The adults in the story are distinguished by exaggerated or even buffoonish characteristics, but their actions are driven by realistic, largely generous motives.

 

The story strikes a fine balance between being action- and friendship-driven. The art is similarly well-balanced: Rafael Rosado’s ink drawings are strong and lively, with expressive characters and well-drawn landscapes. Digitally applied color is natural, bright, and nonintrusive. Fans of Jimmy Gownley’s Amelia Rules books and Jeff Smith’s Bone series will snap this title up.

Paula W.

 
 

Skullbania is Not a City in New Jersey

Fangbone! Third-grade BarbarianFangbone! Third-grade Barbarian: The Egg of MiseryEastwood Elementary has a new third grade student, a young warrior who hails from the faraway land of Skullbania. Clad in raggedy homemade boots, a cape, horned helmet and what the other students interpret as “fur underwear,” Fangbone tumbles though a portal into a garbage dump on the hillside overlooking the school. He’s been entrusted with protecting the big toe of Drool, which will keep evil from his land. But strange new challenges (like the concept of toilets) lie ahead for Fangbone! Third-Grade Barbarian, the engaging hero of Michael Rex’s silly new graphic novel series for elementary school readers.

 

The first book introduces Fangbone as he attempts to assimilate into class 3G. Soon he’s made a new best friend, Bill, while gathering the whole class as his army of minions. His clueless principal thinks it’s all an exercise in appreciating other cultures. Soon Fangbone leads the losing 3G Extreme Attack Unicorns through a victory in the beanball games, and his classmates come through for him when evil strikes from his homeland. Rendered in simple comic book style line drawings, Fangbone! holds special appeal for young boys who appreciate an abundance of goofy, mildly gross humor and plenty of battle action.  

 

The adventures continue in Fangbone! Third-Grade Barbarian: The Egg of Misery, as a strange oversized egg appears, sent from Skullbania by the warrior’s clan. The class works hard to hatch this bizarre, spotted egg, believing it contains a baby dragon. Meanwhile, they must all work together to present their assigned animal, the dodo, for the third grade’s Extinction Pageant. Craziness and danger ensue, as Fangbone wields his sword against Skullbanian evil and the trials of a group project.

 

Known for his popular parodies of classic children’s picture books such as Goodnight Goon and Furious George Goes Bananas, Michael Rex has found a new niche in graphic novels. Young fans of Dav Pilkey’s Ricky Ricotta and Captain Underpants series will quickly devour these adventures. Look for a third Fangbone! title, The Birthday Party of Dread, to debut in August.

Paula G.

 
 

What Goes in, Must Come Out

Zig and Wikki in The Cow

What young reader can resist a book that answers the question: can cow poop help two friends patch up their friendship?

 

In Zig and Wikki in The Cow, by Nadja Spiegelman and Trade Loeffler, Zig (an alien) and Wikki (his computer friend) are going about their day when Zig notices his pet fly looks sick. An already jealous Wikki is happy to take the fly back to Earth where they promptly lose their spaceship. Hilarious adventures through a farm’s ecosystem ensue. Will Zig and Wikki find their spaceship? Will their friendship be saved? Will the fly be okay? Interspersed with scientific facts about an ecosystem, the story is a fun read (and just a little bit gross). Zig and Wikki in The Cow is a great book to read with your beginning reader. The pictures are charming, the story is funny and (after a few “ewwws”) your reader will be proud of the science lessons learned. If you enjoy this one, be sure to check out their first adventure Zig and Wikki in Something Ate My Homework.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diane

 
 

Children's Books at the Oscars

Invention of Hugo CabretHarry Potter and the Deathly HallowsAdventure of Tintin, Volume 1

It's no secret that many of Hollywood's most successful blockbusters are adaptations of popular books. The recent Academy Award nominees refect this, especially when it comes to family films. Here are some of the children's titles that brought magic to the movies this year:

 

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick became the visually stunning film Hugo directed by Martin Scorsese.  This tale of an orphaned boy living in a Paris train station was the surprise winner of the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book in 2008.  Selznick’s creative style mixes pages of text with wordless pages that opens the reader’s imagination and invites them to create parts of the story for themselves.  Selznick’s newest title Wonderstruck is similarly illustrated.

 

The Adventures of Tintin is adapted from the classic graphic novel series of the same name written by Belgian writer/artist Herge.  Tintin is a young reporter who gets caught up in dangerous adventures as he completes his story assignments.  Modeled after the boy scout values, Tintin always knows what is right and acts in the most upstanding manner.  He is a role model for children (and perhaps adults everywhere.

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II marks the end of the film journey into J.K. Rowling’s magical world.  The books are now over 14 years old and a whole new generation of readers are jumping on the Hogwarts express and following Harry as he learns to be a wizard and discovers both good and evil along the way.  The Harry Potter books have spawned movies, video games, board games, toys, websites, and even a theme park.  The audiobooks are magnificently narrated by the Grammy award-winning Jim Dale.  A fun fact—Jim Dale holds the Guinness World Record for creating 146 different character voices for the audiobook version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!

Sam