The Bad Guys (#1) | Aaron Blabey
Summary: Hosted by The Wolf, readers meet a gang of bad guys who can’t refute their reputations, but still want to be heroes. We even see the suspects’ rap sheets. But anyone cruising around just looking for trouble (in order to combat or alleviate it) can’t be all bad, right? After all, they go through such pains as to rescue a cat from a tree. What could happen next?
Recommendation: Marked EJ for easy juvenile, this 138-page graphic novel reads quickly since most pages are single panel in black and white. It could certainly have been written in novel form, but the expressions on the characters’ faces are totally worth a look. I’m curious what it was about Wolf’s previous experiences that brought him to this ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ moment of change. If you want to be a good guy, it helps to do good things. Something tells me this is the start of a long-ongoing effort.
Maya Makes a Mess | Rutu Modan
Summary: Maya enjoys eating her way, a bit of squirminess keeping her from sitting as her parents wish. Upon the challenge from her father about how she would act in front of a queen, there’s a knock at the door. Thus begins Maya’s adventure into politeness before English royalty. But there are challenges beyond merely which fork to use. What does one do when nothing on the table appeals?
Recommendation: A graphic novel designed for the transition age of 2nd and 3rd grade level readers, Maya’s adventures are shown in both multi-panel and double splash images at only 32 pages. That’s the same number of pages found in your standard picture book so it won’t feel overwhelming to your young reader. A surprise at the end of the story waits in ‘Tips for Parents and Teachers’ – this publisher offers an understanding reading levels chart and online lesson plans. Should your reader need encouragement in trying more graphic novels, remember the kinds of benefits they’ll be gaining with a higher percentage of rare words used (radiation, obvious, scheme, angelic) compared to adult novels (I know, right?!?).
Binky the Space Cat | Ashley Spires
Summary: Binky is a space cat and has such duties as eliminating bugs from the house of his humans. Only he knows that the bugs and aliens are one and the same. Anticipating future dust-ups with the aliens, he trains and studies and prepares for the future. Binky builds a rocket ship and starts the countdown. Will his mission succeed?
Recommendation: A graphic novel designed for the transition age of 2nd and 3rd grade level readers, Binky’s adventures are more detailed than The Bad Guys at only 64 pages. Most pages have multiple panels of action or movement and there are tiny details (like his sidekick, Ted) throughout to enjoy with a careful eye. The colors used may be muted, but they are effective and the inking of the action offers directional lines or speed effects where necessary. His affection for his family is paramount and highly influential upon his decision-making. They appreciate him greatly.