Saturday, 4 August 2012

Graphix Novels

Further to my plans to read at least one book from series that are popular with the kids I teach, I decided to read some graphix novels. Truthfully, I was a little confused about what they even are. I thought they were all Japanese cartoons (manga??) - but they aren't. There are graphix novels for all sorts of books. They're like a comic book, but they don't end with cliff hangers (usually). I was surprised, when I perused the graphix section at the library, the wide range of graphix novels that exist! I will definitely be taking some of these out of the library for my class to enjoy this year.

Reading these novels, I thought about how it could be a good way in my Sunday School class to go over the reading for the week. It would be a good exercise for me too, to have to translate the reading into a summary in comic form. I wonder if I could do it?? It would be interesting in my class, too, to have them re-tell some stories in the form of a graphix novel! Hmmmm.....

Today I read Stickman Odyssey by Christopher Ford. I actually got two of them out of the library. I couldn't stomach both of them though. I figured one was enough.

The good thing about these books is they would help kids who are struggling readers, feel like they are becoming really good readers. If a kid is more visual, the pictures would be really helpful (I found I had to force myself to stop and take time to look at the drawings as I usually just run through the words really fast). Also, this one has lots of typical thigh-slapping humor that kids love. I would imagine too, that kids would enjoy reading these more than once as the stories in this one were quite intertwined.

I really liked the review on Kirkus:

In the first six pages of this graphic meta-goof on The Odyssey, our stick-figure hero, Zozimos, nearly drowns, gets lost in a jungle, is captured by golems and gets thrown in jail. The pace never really lets up over the 200 pages of the book, as he tries to find his way home to Sticatha. Readers may feel as though they’re flipping channels on a remote, and every channel is showing an action movie. There’s too much medias, too much res and not enough time spent developing the characters. Ford almost seems afraid to let them sit down and just talk. Some readers may need to page through the story a second time to realize that Zozimos is sort of charming, and a few turns of phrase are quite funny (“By Hades’ pajamas”). It would be easy, though, to get distracted by Zozimos’ many selfish actions and his refusal to listen to anyone else. Early in the book, King Marnox says, “The way I see it, everything that happened was your own fault for being a shortsighted jerk.” It’s hard to disagree. A few leisurely pauses here and there might have given readers more opportunity to sympathize with the main character.


The Royal History of Oz (Tommy Kovac and Andy Hirsch)

  THIS book is what I imagined graphix novels to be like....written by a non-comformist type, with violence and a statement about society. That being said, don't worry, it isn't a book that I wouldn't let my kids read. It's just fine. And actually, I learned a lot from it. The author of the Wizard of Oz, Richard Baum, apparently wrote a number of Oz books, 13 in fact! Who knew! The publisher tried pumping out some more after the author's death, but they weren't a great success.   This stody is about a 15 year old boy, Frank. His dad is a writer, but not successful at all. The story is set in the future and he is writing an Oz story even though there has been a cease and desist order on Oz stories.

It all gets very interesting when the dad discovers that Oz is actually real...and that is exactly when the real trouble starts.

Definitely an interesting read! I'd recommend it, for sure!

    Then I got quite excited about graphix novels when I read this one:
Page by Paige (Laure Lee Gulledge)

This one made me stop and look at the pictures. They were amazing!!  It is a story about a girl who moves from Virginia to New York. She, like any kid who moves, has a hard time feeling like it's home. She buys a blank book and starts to record drawings in it, and they're simply amazing! Like this one:

I tell myself that everyone else feels alone, too.

(not sure why this one is in color...they're all black and white in the book)

There are tons of pictures I can see a kid taking out of the book and putting on their wall - or at least sitting and looking at them and thinking about it. They're really great! And the writing in this one was much better - something I'd be happy to encourage a kid to read! I would love to read and discuss this book with kids Jill's age. I think it would be a big hit! I hope there are more of these to come. The author has a blog (wellk truthfully, when I got looking I discovered she actually has TEN blogs! ....but that link will do) and she says that she is working on her second graphix novel - but it is a different character.

I read a few reviews other people have written and it seems other people were equally taken by the drawings. Check out this review, and this one too.

I will definitely be on the look out for more great graphix novels. Love them!


1 comment:

Katie said...

The author of the Oz books is L. Frank Baum. And yes, he wrote a number of Oz books, most of which I have read and enjoyed.