Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Best of the Graphic Novels Section!

Hello! Roving reporter Rachel here, to tell you all about what's new and cool on our Graphic Novels shelf!

The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard by Eddie Campbell and Dan Best follows the bizarre adventures of Etienne as he assumes the identity of his dead uncle--The Amazing Remarkable Leotard, famed throughout Paris as the original flying trapeze artist. Each hilarious episode is filled with circus hijinks, Forrest-Gump-esque historical allusions and fantastic art, making this pick a great read for the young adult crowd. You'll find something new to laugh about every time you read it!

Skim by Marika Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki should be familiar to those of you who follow our blog--we posted briefly about it here, when it made the New York Times' Best Illustrated list for 2008. Of course, the art is only half it's appeal--exploring all the hearbreaks and triumphs of high school, from depression to sexual identity to cliques and crushes, Skim paints the roller-coaster world of teenage life with keen observation and insight. Set at a private girls' school, this story appeals especially to those of us (like me) who've had an all-women education ourselves.

Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan isn't exactly a graphic novel--more like a collection of illustrated short stories. Tan's work has such a great imaginative and narrative quality to it, though, that it fits in very well with the rest of the graphic shelf! This assortment of strange and fantastic tales pairs the unusual with the everyday, from an omniscient water buffalo that lives in a vacant lot of tall grass to a stranger in a barnacle-covered diving suit who has some connection to old Mrs. "Bad News" Katayama. Each story is like a new world of its own, told through simple, eloquent prose and illustrations in a wide variety of artistic styles. This title makes a great read-aloud, and will engage readers of just about any age! Also, anyone who thinks this book sounds great should check out Shaun Tan's The Arrival, a wordless graphic novel that uses fantasy illustration to portray the immigrant experience.

Stone Rabbit: Pirate Palooza by Erik Craddock is the perfect title for reluctant readers, who'd rather watch TV than pick up a book. The full-color art is cartoony and bright, and the plot is packed with wild adventure and piratey goodness. When Stone Rabbit and his pal Andy break the leg of a table, our heroes decide to replace it with a cursed pirate's peg leg they buy at the local comic shop. Of course, ghostly buccaneering adventures ensue--but will the table ever get fixed?

Babymouse the Musical by Jennifer and Matthew Holm, the latest installment in the Babymouse series, is just as witty and sparkling as the previous nine. When a new student flatters Babymouse into trying out for the school musical with him, a whirlwind of fun and hilarity ensues! Between Babymouse's vivid fantasy life, her real-life tribulations in rehearsal and the Narrator's name in lights, young readers will love this homage to musical theater. Can you spot all the different references? I counted 15. :D

Don't forget about these other graphic novel favorites, reviewed elsewhere on our blog (just click the titles to see what we said about them!): American Born Chinese, The Merchant of Venice and Persepolis.

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