Archive for April, 2011

April 27, 2011

The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook, by Eleanor Davis

We have many new graphic novels just added to the collection, but I want to clear out a backlog of excellent kids books I was holding aside to add to the ‘canon’ of really top-notch timeless all-ages books that should not be missed.

outwardly a nerd

One more in the category of ‘instant classics’  is Eleanor Davis’  action-science nerd-‘venture:   The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook (2009, Bloomsbury USA).

Ultra-nerd Julian Calendar fears persecution in his new school, and tries to hide that proverbial light under a bushel basket.  His clever plan is to play dumb in order to fit in at the new school.  And ‘plan’  is the right word, he approaches the problem like a science experiment, an anthropological study of other tweens:   what is the science of ‘fitting in’ ?

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April 19, 2011

Amulet, by Kazu Kibuishi

After reading Bone by Jeff Smith I am often asked ‘what’s next?’     These next few posts are reviews of a few All-ages comics that join the canon of  stellar works I’d recommend to anybody.  Some are not new, but maybe new to you:

Amulet, by Kazu Kibuishi

In his ‘Hero with a Thousand Faces’ Joseph Campbell postulated that the Hero of  classical mythology must lose his parents early in life.  Perhaps the reason tall heroes have dead parents is that it opens up the boundaries of possibilities and exposes the youth to danger.  Perhaps the hero myth is simply the coming of age we all undergo.

In any case Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet hits every note of the classic hero’s journey.  Within the first ten pages he has offed one primary caregiver, as the father drives off a cliff in a car accident.  Attempting to leave their old life behind, Mom moves the two kids to an eerie home in the woods, left to her by dead grandpa Silas.   Daughter Emily finds a luminous necklace (the eponymous Amulet) in the library then shortly thereafter the two kids lose their second parent as Mom is snatched by a fleshy squid-spider.

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