Recollections: Reviews by a Book Lover

Let’s Get Graphic

I’ve been reading a lot of graphic novels lately.  Here are some short reviews of my favorites:



Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

Maggie is about to start high school after being homeschooled her whole life.  Maggie’s mom left her and her three brothers and nothing has been the same since.  Maggie’s brothers have been her only friends until she meets Alistair and Lucy. 

I love this book because it’s all about friendship, growing up, learning to forgive and move on.  I almost forgot to mention, Maggie is haunted.  While trying to deal with her brothers and her new friends, she is also trying to figure why she is being haunted and how she can help the ghost. 



Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge

Paige Turner just moved to New York.  She is trying to adjust to the big city while making friends and her sketchbook is helping her do just that.

This is a great book because Paige is in her head so much, and her sketchbook helps her get it all out there.  She learns to open up and share her sketchbook and thoughts/feelings with others.   It’s about finding yourself and learning to be comfortable enough with that self to share it with the world. 



Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge

Will lost her parents in an accident and now she lives with her aunt.  She has two best friends and loves to make lamps.  She is also afraid of the dark. 

Will’s lamps help her deal with her fear of the dark, but she hasn’t come to terms with the loss of her family.  She tries to avoid it, but when a storm knocks out all the power in town, Will can’t hide from the dark anymore.  This is a story about coming to terms with loss and your fears.  Will is lucky because she has her friends to help her. 



Amulet Volume 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

Emily and Navin move into their great-grandfather’s house with their mother after their father dies.  However, this house proves to have dangerous secrets and soon Emily and Navin are on journey to save their mother after she is taken by monsters to an underground world.  Soon siblings meet others and find allies. 

I love the storyline and the characters are great.  I love Miskit the mechanical rabbit, and all the other friends Emily and Navin make along the way.  Emily lost her father, but she isn’t going to let her mother be taken away from her.  She will do anything to protect what is left of her family, something we can all relate to.



Astonishing X-Men (volumes 1-9) 

The first four volumes were written by Joss Whedon, and I loved them.  The story arc was fantastic.  Cyclops and Emma Frost have reformed the X-men, but something threatens the existence of mutants, and it is up to them to stop it.  Out of the 9 volumes I’ve read so far this was my favorite story arc.  The other arcs include ghost boxes, parallel universes, the brood, and Monster Island.  Some arcs are better than others, but all have kept me reading. 


The artwork in all these graphic novels is amazing.  Gulledge’s art is black and white (which I normal don’t care for, I love color!), but she is such a great artist I hardly notice the absence of color.  The X-men volumes have different artists and writers, some artists are better than others.  A few of the volumes felt a little dark, and I didn’t like how some of the artists drew certain characters. 


Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

As I’ve mentioned before I was temping in the children’s department of my local library.  While there I was able to read some picture books, and some juvenile fiction.  Since Diary of a Wimpy Kid has been the rage for a while I figured it was time I read the first in the series.

What it is about:  Middle school for Greg Heffley has its twists and turns.  In this novel we follow Greg through his mishaps and adventures as he writes in his diary.  We learn about the cheese touch, how Greg feels about his family, and friends, and how he deals with middle school.

What I like:  Diary of a Wimpy Kid is full of funny boy humor.  Will girls get a kick out of it too? Of course! We all lived through middle school, or are currently navigating through it, and therefore we can relate.  Greg makes some pretty terrible decisions, and is often very selfish in his actions.  While Greg may think he has gotten away with something, he soon gets bite in the butt for his choices.  There are tons of drawings to compliment the storyline, and these are also hilarious.

If you are currently in middle school, or just what to remember trying to navigate life while that age, then I recommend you pick up Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Picture Books!

While temping as a Children’s Librarian last week I read some great picture books.  I know I don’t normally post about picture books, but I figured I’d share these cute titles.

NightsongNightsong by Ari Berk, Illustrated by Loren Long

This is the story of Chiro, a bat, whose mother sends him out on into the world for the first time on his own.  Chiro learns how his song guides him through the dark night.  I loved this story and Chiro is an adorable little bat.



Waking Dragons by Jane Yolen, Illustrated by Derek Anderson Dragons

Our young knight must wake up two very sleepy dragons before heading off to school.  The reader goes through the knight’s routine as he wakes the dragons and gets them ready for the day ahead.  You’ll love the antics involved in getting two dragons ready in the morning.  This book is full of energy, wonderful illustrations, and fun.

Tell MeTell Me About Your Day Today by Mem Fox, Illustrated by Lauren Stringer

At bedtime a boy asks his stuffed animals about their day, and then shares what he did that day.  This is an adorable bedtime story.  You’ll love hearing the adventures the stuffed animals had that day, as well as, seeing how all their stories are connected.

Let’s Get Graphic! Zita the Spacegirl and Legends of Zita

Review: Zita the Spacegirl and Legends of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

I have wanted to read Zita since I saw its sequel in a webinar a while back.  I finally got around to it while temping in the children’s department of a local library.


Zita1What it’s about:  One day while playing in the woods with her friend Joseph, Zita comes across an object in what appears to be a meteoroid crater.  Naturally Zita has to push the big red button (even though we all know not to hit the big red button!).  A portal is opened and Joseph gets sucked through.  Zita then pushes the button again in order to rescue Joseph.  Thus begins Zita’s adventures in space, which then continue on in the Legends of Zita.

What I liked:  Zita is scared to death to push the red button again, but she does so in order to save Joseph.  Once she lands on the planet, Zita does everything to find Joseph and refuses to leave until she has rescued him.  Along the way Zita makes some friends.  Strong Strong, One, Mouse and Randy are fiercely loyal to Zita, and help her in her quest to find Joseph.  The group looks after one another and Zita saves them as much as they save her.  Do they become loyal friends unrealistically fast? Yes, but I’m okay with that because it’s a cute story which shows the importance of friendship.  I love Zita because she fights for her friends and for what she believes is right.  She is scared and in a strange place filled with strange creatures, and yet she doesn’t give up on her friend. Zita2

Zita’s adventures are far from over at the end of Legends of Zita.  I for one will definitely be getting the next book when it comes out.  If you love graphic novels, and are looking for a cute strong, with a loveable group of characters then check out Zita the Spacegirl.


Review: Wonder

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

What it’s about:  Middle school is hard for every kid, but for Auggie, who is about to attend school for the first time, middle school will an even greater challenge.  Auggie has had a facial deformity since he was born.  While he has undergone many surgeries his face still doesn’t look like your average face.  As Auggie puts it “I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”  Other than his facial deformity Auggie is an ordinary kid, he has no learning disabilities or special needs.  But can he convince the other kids in school that he is just like them?

What I Like:  This really is a heartwarming story.  Auggie is a very likeable character, and you feel for what he has to go through.  It is amazing how accepting and understanding Auggie is, especially given all he has been through.  Let’s be honest though, almost all of us have gone to middle school, and it is no picnic even when you look like everyone else.  Kids can be cruel.  There are those who are more accepting, so I believe Auggie would have friends.  I also believe other kids would be cruel to Auggie and his friends.  And it isn’t just the kids, but Wonder proves that some parents can be just as ignorant.

I like how the book changes character point of views with each part.  It is nice to see how his sister Via feels, because while she loves her brother it would be a difficult situation for her too.   We also get to see why those who befriend Auggie do so.


People fear what they are scared of, and people who look or act different scare people.  Sadly this is a fact which will not change anytime soon.  Those who are willing to look past Auggie’s looks are rewarded with getting know a great kid.

I really enjoyed this story.  I just wish kids really would learn to look past how someone looks and get to know them for who they are.  But like how we judge books by their covers, we also judge people by how they look.  Wonder teaches us that we must be tolerant of those who are different and teach our children to be accepting also.