Graphic Novels Rule

Kids love comics and graphic novels. School Library Journal identified 25 outstanding new graphic novels that will make a nice addition to your school/public library.

Amelia Rules, Volume 4: When the Past Is a Present. Gownley, Jimmy. Renaissance. 2008. $11.99. ISBN 978-0-9712169-9-0.

Gr 3-5—“Amelia Rules” is a funny, witty series about one girl’s journey through childhood as she deals with her parents’ divorce—which ultimately means moving to a new town, starting a new school, and, yes, making new friends. In the latest episode, 11-year-old Amelia’s adventures continue as she goes on her first “date” and deals with a friend whose dad is being sent to war. The first three volumes of the series (The Whole World’s Crazy, What Makes You Happy, and Superheroes) are also highly recommended.

Amulet, Book One: The Stonekeeper.. Kibuishi, Kazu Scholastic Graphix. 2008. $21.99. ISBN 978-0-439-84680-6.

Gr 4-6—After the death of their father, siblings Emily and Navin and their mom move into a mysterious old house that’s been in the family for generations. When their mother is kidnapped by a strange being who appears in the basement, the kids set off to rescue her, with some unexpected help from a few out-of-this-world friends of their deceased great-grandfather.

Babymouse, Volume 8: Puppy Love. Holm, Jennifer and Matthew Holm. Random. 2007. $5.99. ISBN 978-0-375-83990-0.

Gr 1-3—Babymouse is a smart, spirited, and creative young rodent who spends most of her time daydreaming about a glamorous life filled with excitement and adventure. This time, Babymouse finally gets the pet of her dreams! Kids will also enjoy the series’ first seven volumes: Our Hero, Queen of the World!, Beach Babe, Rock Star, Heartbreaker, Camp Babymouse, and Skater Girl.

Benny and Penny in Just Pretend. Hayes, Geoffrey. Toon. 2008. $12.95. ISBN 978-0-9799238-0-7.

K-Gr 2—Benny’s pesky little sister, Penny, is always tagging along, bugging him to play with her, and demanding hugs. What a pain! But when Penny unexpectedly disappears during a game of hide-and-seek, Benny realizes how much he misses having her around.

Courageous Princess. Espinoza, Rod. Dark Horse. 2007. $14.95. ISBN 978-1-59307-719-8.

Gr 4-6—With her clumsy ways and clever thoughts, young Princess Mablerose isn’t your classic storybook princess—and neither is her tale. As Mablerose proves, sometimes a princess needs to take matters into her own hands—and rescue herself.

Dinosaurs Across America. Yeh, Phil. NBM. 2007. $12.95. ISBN 978-1-56163-509-2.

Gr 3-5—In this full-color, nonfiction comic, a group of time-traveling dinosaurs visit our nation’s 50 states. As they stop in each state, they learn about its capital and a thing or two about the region’s history.

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Hall, M. C. and C. E. Richards. Stone Arch. 2006. $17.95. ISBN 978-1-59889-218-5.

Gr 4-6—This simplified adaptation of the Arthurian legend begins with the birth of King Arthur and swiftly moves along as he frees the sword from the stone, is tutored by Merlin, befriends Lancelot, marries Guinevere, seeks the Holy Grail, and battles Mordred. Other recommended classics in Stone Arch’s “Graphic Revolve” series include 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Dracula.

Flight Explorer, Volume 1. Kibuishi, Kazu, editor. Villard. 2008. $10. ISBN 978-0-345-50313-8.

Gr 4-6—This anthology of engaging short stories features many out-of-this-world settings and sidekicks, as well as one lovable monster, a hybrid cat girl, and a young space explorer. Here’s a collection that has something to offer every young fantasy reader.

Jellaby, Volume 1. Soo, Kean. Hyperion. 2008. $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4231-0303-5.

Gr 3-6—When 10-year-old Portia Bennett investigates the strange sounds coming from behind her house, she discovers more than she’s bargained for: a sweet, silent monster whose heart is as big as his head. This endearing tale about starting over and unexpected allies is sure to be a huge hit with young readers.

Korgi, Book 1. Slade, Christian. Top Shelf. 2007. $10. ISBN 978-1-891830-90-7.

Gr 3-6—This beautifully sketched, wordless picture book about a young girl, her magical dog, and an ogreish monster and his minions sports a few unexpected twists and turns—and a very apropos ending. (Hint: the creature gets his due.) Watch for the second volume, due out in August.

Lions, Tigers and Bears, Volume 1: Fear and Pride. Bullock, Mike and Jack Lawrence. Image. 2006. $12.99. ISBN 978-1-58240-657-2.

Gr 4-6—Before Joey leaves town, his grandma has a surprise gift for him: a set of four stuffed animals, called the “Night Pride,” guaranteed to help Joey adjust to his new life. What follows is a classic adventure story in which the stuffed companions spring to life, helping Joey battle the fearsome “Beasties.”

Magic Pickle Graphic Novel. Morse, Scott. Scholastic Graphix. 2008. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-439-87995-8.

Gr 3-5—Magic Pickle and his young partner, Jo Jo Wigman, must combat the “villainous vegetables”—a gang that includes Phantom Carrot, Romaine Gladiator, the scorching Chili Chili Bang Bang, and other veggies too nutritious to mention.

Mail Order Ninja, Volume 2. Owen, Erich and Joshua Elder. TokyoPop. 2006. $5.99. ISBN 978-1-59816-729-0.

Gr 4-6—In this series’ debut, Timmy McAllister was a bully magnet. But that all changed when he ordered his own personal ninja. Unfortunately, in volume two, Timmy’s luck has run out—his ninja has been defeated and his nemesis, Felicity, reigns once again. This time, the young boy must fight the evil elementary school hierarchy on his own.

Owly, Volume 4: A Time to Be Brave. Runton, Andy. Top Shelf. $10. 2007. ISBN 978-1-891830-89-1.

Gr 2-6—Owly is a lonely little brown owl who’s always on the lookout for new friends. This time around, Owly and his pals meet a visitor who’s not at all what he appears to be. Although the “Owly” series is entirely wordless, its characters’ facial expressions and the stories’ symbols make it easy for kids to understand each tale. Volumes 1–3 (The Way Home & The Bittersweet Summer, Just a Little Bit Blue, and Flying Lessons) are also highly recommended.

Polo: The Runaway Book. Faller, Regis. Roaring Brook. 2007. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-59643-189-8.

PreS-Gr 2—In this wordless picture book/graphic novel for the youngest readers, Polo sets off on a journey after his book is swiped by a smiley-faced alien. If your kids are ready for another round of Polo, track down The Adventures of Polo.

Sardine in Outer Space, Volume 4. Sfar, Joann and Emmanuel Guibert. First Second. 2007. $13.95. ISBN 978-1-59643-129-4.

Gr 4-6—Join Captain Yellow Shoulder, Sardine, and cousin Little Louis aboard their pirate spaceship, the Huckleberry, as they set out to right the wrongs of the galaxy. In volume four, the swashbuckling threesome takes on the evil duo of Supermuscleman and his assistant, the mad scientist Doc Krok, as well as some other unsavory dudes. Be sure to check out the first three volumes.

The Shocking World of Electricity with Max Axiom, Super Scientist. O’Donnell, Liam. Capstone. 2007. $18.95. ISBN 978-0-7368-6835-8.

Gr 4-6—After Max Axiom walks across his carpet, the super scientist has a genuinely shocking experience when he touches a metal doorknob. He uses the incident as a springboard to explain the omnipresent nature of electricity, including how it works and how we harness it. Other titles in the “Graphic Science” series tackle slightly less shocking topics, such as magnetism, the ecosystem, global warming, food chains, and more.

Silly Lilly and the Four Seasons. Rosenstiehl, Agnès. Toon. 2008. $12.95. ISBN 978-0-9799238-1-4.

PreS-Gr 1—Spunky Lilly dances, skips, and jumps through the pages of this charming book as she explores each season’s distinct pleasures, which include springtime in a park, a beach in summer, apple picking in the fall, and snow in wintertime. With its simple text and illustrations, this comic is perfect for new readers.

Sticky Burr: Adventures in Burrwood Forest. Lechner, John. Candlewick. 2007. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-3054-6.

Gr 3-5—In this silly, clever comic, young Sticky Burr’s quick thinking saves his fellow seed pods from a pack of wild dogs, turning him into a local hero.

Tiger Moth: Insect Ninja. Reynolds, Aaron and Erik Lervold. Stone Arch. 2006. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-59889-057-0.

Gr 1-3—Tiger Moth is a stealth fourth-grade ninja who uses his advanced martial arts skills to battle evil in the bug world. He’s assisted by his apprentice, Kung Pow the Pill Bug. Other entertaining titles in this series include The Fortune Cookies of Weevil, The Dung Beetle Bandits, The Dragon Kite Contest, Kung Pow Chicken, and The Pest Show On Earth.

To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel. Siegel, Siena Cherson and Mark Siegel. S & S. 2006. $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-2687-0.

Gr 4-6—In this autobiography, writer Siena Cherson Siegel takes readers along on her quest to become a ballet dancer, starting at age six, when she began taking lessons in Puerto Rico, through an injury that ended her professional dance career at age 18.

UFOs: The Roswell Incident. DeMolay, Jack. Rosen. 2006. $10.35. ISBN 978-1-4042-2156-7.

Gr 3-5—Did an alien spaceship crash in Roswell, NM, in 1947? Was our government involved in a cover-up of the incident? What really went on? UFOs attempts to answer these intriguing questions. Rosen’s “Jr. Graphic Mysteries” series also delves into other mysteries, including the lost city of Atlantis, the Bermuda Triangle, Bigfoot, the ghosts of Amityville, and the Loch Ness monster.

Warriors, Volume 2: Warrior’s Refuge. Hunter, Erin, Dan Jolley, and James Barry. TokyoPop. 2007. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-06-125231-0.

Gr 4-6—“Warriors” (based on a popular teen fantasy series) is about four clans of cats who’ve managed to escape domestication and now must fight to stay alive in the wilderness—while obeying the laws laid down by their feline ancestors. Warrior’s Return, the conclusion of this manga trilogy, will be out next month.

The Wind in the Willows. Grahame, Kenneth. Adapted by Michel Plessix. Papercutz. 2008. $13.95. ISBN 978-1-59707-096-6.

Gr 4-6—This sweet adaptation of the familiar story of three friends—Mole, Rat, and Toad—is the first comic in a new series from Papercutz called “Classics Illustrated Deluxe.” Future volumes will feature adaptations of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, The Invisible Man, and Great Expectations.

The World of Quest, Volume 1. Kruse, Jason T. Yen Press. 2007. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-7595-2402-6.

Gr 4-6—In the land of Odyssia, young Prince Nestor is the only one who knows the whereabouts of a magical dagger. But in order to find it, he’s forced to enlist the help of Quest, a reluctant hero who’s not too keen on being the ungrateful prince’s bodyguard. What follows is a tumultuous battle of wits, as the two learn to live with one another—while saving themselves from the evil forces that lurk around every corner.

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