how much traffic is going to my site Our Picks! for March 2006: Graphic Novels | Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, CT

our picks!: graphic novels

Special Selections from Perrot's Youth Services Staff

March 2006

 

Check this page each month for recommendations from our staff! Each month will focus on a different category of books.

We'll pick our favorites, and tell you all about them! Each book cover is a hyperlink to that item in the catalog, so click there to place a hold. 

 

Have questions about our picks, or need other recommendations? Call us! Our number is 203-637-8802.

Owly: The Way Home and Bittersweet Summer, by Andy Runton

 

Owly, Vol. 1: The Way Home and Bittersweet Summer, by Andy Runton

This almost wordless graphic novel is an interesting reversal of a typical book's format—the author provides the pictures, and you provide the words. This first book in the Owly series is composed of two novellas. In the first adventure, Owly rescues a lost worm and nurses him back to health; the two become great friends. In the second adventure, Owly and Wormy befriend two hummingbirds. After spending a pleasant summer together (Owly provides hummingbird-friendly flowers for them to enjoy), the birds must fly south for the winter. Sweet Owly, who doesn’t want them to go, makes scarves to keep them warm, but the scarves make the tiny hummingbirds too heavy to get off the ground. Even kids who are too young to read will enjoy this book. Beyond the fun of the story, this book reveals the joy to be found in helping others, while also instilling a respect for nature and all its creatures. If you like the first Owly, try some more, and keep in mind that they don't need to be read in order!

 

 

Grampa and Julie: Shark Hunters, by Jef Czekaj

 

 

Grampa and Julie: Shark Hunters, by Jef Czekaj

Grampa and Julie's escapades first appeared in comic strip format in Nickelodeon magazine. This book is their first novel-length adventure, which takes the form of Julie's description to her class of how she spent her summer vacation. She and Grampa passed the time hunting for Stephen, the world's largest shark. Their adventure takes them from the high seas all the way into outer space! Readers will enjoy the goofy humor and surreal adventures, while at the same time learning a few science facts. Great for younger kids.

 

 

Babymouse: Queen of the World!, by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

 

Babymouse series, by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

"It was the same thing every day for Babymouse. Wake up. Get dressed. Brush her whiskers. Eat breakfast. Run to catch the school bus. Where was the glamour? The excitement? The adventure?" This black and white (and pink!) graphic novel chronicles the adventures of a young mouse who longs to live the life of the most popular girl in school: the singular Felicia Furrypaws. In the meantime, Babymouse has her wild imagination (and her lifelong best friend Wilson the Weasel) to keep her company.

 

 

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Volume 1, by Hayao Miyazaki

 

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind  series, by Hayao Miyazaki

You may know Hayao Miyazaki from some of his movies-- Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away (the highest-grossing domestic movie in Japan's history), and Howl's Moving Castle, to name a few. Nausicaä lives in the future, in a world where war has destroyed civilization and poisoned the atmosphere. The Earth is mostly covered by a sinister forest, inhabited by deadly insects and fungi that release poisonous gas, called miasma. Nausicaä, an amazingly good gunship pilot, gets caught up in a war over some of the last pieces of habitable land, although she is more interested in spending time with the forests' creatures, with whom she shares a strange telepathic bond. This serial graphic novel was also adapted into a movie, which was recently redubbed (featuring the voices of Alison Lohman, Uma Thurman, Patrick Stewart, and Edward James Olmos) and released in the United States by Disney. If you're interested in learning more about Miyazaki, his graphic novels and movies, check out a great fan site, Hayao Miyazaki Web.

 

 

My Neighbor Totoro, Volume 1, by Hayao Miyazaki

My Neighbor Totoro series, by Hayao Miyazaki

Another great offering from Hayao Miyazaki. This four-volume series tells the story of little Mei and her older sister, Satsuki, who have just moved to a country home with their father. Their mother is ill and in the hospital, and they've moved to this new house to be closer to her. Satsuki makes lots of new friends at school, but since Mei is so small, she has to stay home with her Dad. But she does get to explore the house and the nearby forest. One day, Mei discovers a giant, furry creature sleeping in his nest (he snores!). Totoro is a forest spirit who makes the trees grow and the wind blow. Mei has to get her sister to believe what she has seen, but her Dad certainly won't believe her, since Totoro can only be seen by children! Each volume includes an interesting sound effects guide, which translates the phonetic characters (called katakana) used in the book. It's cool to see how people describe sounds in another language. This graphic novel series is adapted directly from the animated movie of the same name. If you like the book, you'll adore the movie, which is by turns funny, touching, and exciting. [By the way, the link up there is to the version of the movie dubbed into English by Fox. Greenwich Library has another dubbed version of the movie, produced by Disney, which features Dakota Fanning.]

 

 

Good-Bye Chunky Rice, by Craig Thompson

 

Good-Bye Chunky Rice, by Craig Thompson

Chunky Rice, a turtle, feels he must leave his seaside home to find himself. He is initially encouraged by his mouse friend Dandel, but once he leaves, she begins to feel differently. She pines for Chunky, and throws bottles into the water filled with messages for him. Meanwhile, Chunky travels the seas on a boat filled with strange characters, including a pair of conjoined twins. This is a bittersweet story of love and loss that is utterly unique. For Young Adult readers.

 

 

Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned, by Judd Winick

 

Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned, by Judd Winick

In this Sibert Award Honor Book, Judd, part of the 1993 cast of MTV's Real World San Francisco, uses his cartooning skills to take readers back to the house where the show was set and tell the story of his fellow castmate Pedro Zamora, an AIDS educator who died in 1994 from the disease. This is a moving story about learning to accept those who are different. Particularly interesting is the way Judd contrasts his childhood (and adult life) with Pedro’s. Judd grew up in middle-class Long Island and described himself as an “unhappy” child, while Pedro lived in depressed 1970's Cuba, and describes to Judd a time full of joy and wonder. Judd ultimately learns from Pedro how to stop looking inward and start looking outward, and the story closes with Judd having taken on Pedro's work speaking about AIDS. For Young Adult readers.

 

 

Mister O, by Lewis Trondheim

Mister O, by Lewis Trondheim

This laugh-out-loud funny book chronicles the adventures of Mister O, a small round guy, as he tries again and again to cross a chasm. Everyone else seems to be able to make it across, and some of them lend Mister O a hand, while others try to stand in his way. This book features thirty 60-panel stories, before finally coming to its hysterical conclusion. You'll be surprised about how entertaining you'll find this wordless book. Scanning through the tiny panels almost animates them, flip-book style, adding another level of fun.

 

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Perrot Memorial Library Youth Services Department, Old Greenwich, Connecticut

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