Adored this YA graphic novel. Adored. I’d peg it for kids around 2nd grade or so. There is action, mystery, friendship, aliens, robots and a cute mouse all rolled into one sweet little novel. This collection tells the origin story of Zita, a girl from Earth who gets sucked through a portal to an alien inhabited universe. It leaves off with a nice open ending. I’m hoping there is more of this good stuff to come. After reading a copy from the library, I promptly went out and bought two more copies: one for our house and one for Leina’s classroom library. I highly recommend you do the same.
What an adorable novel! Miss. Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson. This one was not easy to find as it is rather old but oh so sweet! It is set in a small English town full of characters where nothing ever happens until one of its residents decides to write a book. Of course, she changes everyone’s names but her characters are drawn straight for life and are easily recognizable. Not everyone appreciates what they see written on the page and the people of the town attempt to ferret out who exactly wrote the book under the name “John Smith.” A sweet, funny, delightful novel. Just right for a rainy day and a cup of tea and few oatmeal raisin cookies. (Or perhaps, more than a few but who’s counting!)
And trust me, there has been plenty of rain. So far, we have had 21 days of rain and today looks like day 22. This has put a rather soggy damper on our Spring Break plans. Usually, we get out into the yard for the start of the season and bring in the first load of flowers. Instead, we have hung out on the sofa watching far too much t.v. and playing computer games for hours on end. Ah well. I guess that’s what I get for living in Oregon.
Yet another memoir type book. Am I on a role or what? This book, Everyday Matters by Danny Gregory, falls into one of my favorite categories. The sketch journal. I love these little peeks into someone’s daily epiphanies and adventures. These are books to pick up and admire a bit at a time. Filled with odd thoughts and simple sketches, these books inspire me to keep a simple, scribbled journal of my own full of awful sketches and favorite quotes. Mr. Gregory’s journal is set in New York and is full of city sketches of utilitarian objects around him. Not a trained artist but a determined sketcher, this is a sweet little book to pick up and thumb through to inspire your own creative thoughts.
And, to celebrate the start of Spring Break here in Sherwood, I give you a picture of J-Dog in all her glory. Please note the shaved spot on her leg where she received her IV drip after deciding to eat a rope. Yup. A rope. Don’t worry, after a nice long day at the vet, she emerged right as rain. For a “free” dog, she sure is good at racking up a vet bill.
I seem to be on a memoir kick right now. Sometimes “real life” can be just as interesting as fiction. One of my favorite memoir genres is the farm story. It usually involves a city person who one day wakes up and realizes they need to get back to the land. So, with great ambition but little real idea of what lies before them, they pack up their old life and head to the hills. Usually, there are chickens involved and that is an added bonus. This book, The Dirty Life by Kristen Kimball, falls squarely into this category. Ms. Kimball is swept off her feet by a man with a plan that involves farming, animals, and getting back to the earth. She is a city girl so it’s all a great mystery full of hard work, anxiety, and love. Mostly, it’s about her developing faith. Faith in herself, in her community, her marriage – all the big ticket items really. It doesn’t romanticize the experience though. After finishing this book, I realized I had no desire to farm 80 acres or slaughter pigs or walk behind plow horses. Chicken, however, I could still go for chickens!
This month, our book group is reading The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. It’s a memoir about growing up in a seriously crazy family. I mean, crazy. The book consists of short stories or remembrances and is very hard to believe. It’s as if the parents had read a parenting book and then applied all the principles in exactly the opposite fashion. I have a feeling it will lead to very interesting discussion among my group of moms.
I have read several life stories where the parents were pretty much absent from the scene and so the kids had to become the providers. They learned to take care of themselves and their siblings. They became independent, inventive and smart because they had to in order to survive their childhood. So does that mean the parents were doing right? Do we keep our kids sheltered in childhood too long? Is some level of neglect needed to help a child reach their full potential? Deep thoughts for a Monday. Good thing I have a few more weeks before ponder…..
I freaked Kevin out yesterday. He came home and found me reading. Now, that in an of itself is not odd. What caused him to do a double take was the fact that I was reading a graphic novel. That tends to be Kevin’s home turf, not mine. But my hold list at the library is deep and wide so I really never know what will pop up on the shelf for me. Sometime in the murky past someone recommended this book to me and it finally found it’s way into my hands. And although it is rather gruesome, it is also rather delightful.
My experience with graphic novels is pretty grim. Mostly spandex clad muscle me and frighteningly busty women all deeply conflicted and trying to “Do Right.” The pictures are circus color bright and the writing full of exclamation marks and sounds like “SPLAT!” or “K-THUNK!” Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a bit of escapism as much as the next girl but most super hero comic books just don’t butter my biscuit.
However, I should also confess that as a young kid I adored Mad Magazine. I loved the goofy drawings and all the little funny jokes hidden in the background of each page. I even remember playing Mad the board game and loving it. Alfred E. Newman. Ha! Perhaps that is why I liked Chew. The drawings are Mad-esque and there are funny little scribbles hidden throughout. I actually found myself scouring each picture looking for the joke. The story itself is strange and slightly disgusting. Our hero has the ability to see the past of everything he eats. This poses difficulties for him when trying to enjoy a nice pork roast but also leads him to join the FDA where he takes bites out of corpses, dead pets and severed fingers to find out the identity of bad guys. Gross, right? But also funny, dark, and strangely addictive. I’m actually going to put the next volume on my hold list. Not for the squeamish or the very young, but perfect for the odd duck.