Mini reviews – 2021 does graphic novels #1

Morning!

As long-standing fans of this blog will know, I discovered a love of graphic novels last year, and during half term, I had a wonderful chance to read a few more graphic novels and I am here to review some of them (the others will come next week!). As ever, these were all bought second hand from Abe Books (which if you’re looking for second hand graphic novels, I would really recommend checking out!). I read 12 graphic novels over half term, so I’ll review 6 today and then 6 next week; please pop back then to see what else I read.

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Tommysaurus Rex

When Ely’s beloved dog, Tommy, is hit by a car, he goes to his grandpa’s house for the summer to get his mind off things. While exploring a nearby cave one day he discovers a full-grown but friendly Tyrannosaurus Rex. As the news of the dinosaur grows around town, so does the friendship between Ely and his Jurassic pet. But Randy, the mean kid down the street, decides he’s going to make life miserable for Ely and his dinosaur-to devastating effect.

I’ve read a few other Doug TenNapel graphic novels and they’ve gone down really well in my class, so when I saw this, I figured I’d give it a go and I thought it was great! This follows the story of a young boy who loses his dog… but what he gains is something extraordinary! He ends up with a dinosaur who acts very much like his dog (which is a wild thing to happen!). Can the dinosaur be of any use to the mayor? And can the dinosaur stop Ely being bullied by Randy? I really enjoyed this! Just like his other graphic novels, this is brilliantly illustrated!

Scary Summer (Goosebumps)

Three hot, talented comic artists adapt these bestselling Goosebumps books into a cool new graphic format.Someone’s creeping through the garden, doing nasty things! Dean Haspiel, a veteran of Batman and Justice League comics, knows just how to portray “The Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes.”In his comic series like The Bakers and Plastic Man, Kyle Baker proves he’s one funny artist, the perfect guy to draw a story about fun and games at camp–until “The Horror at Camp Jellyjam” is uncovered.”

This is my second Goosebumps graphic novel. I used to be a massive fan of the novels as a kid, so having a graphic novel version is brilliant! I really enjoyed the first one, so I snapped this one up! In these graphic novels, much like an anthology, you get three short stories in graphic novel form by three different illustrators. I love that there’s a celebration of different illustrators in these – it really creates a sense of different stories. In this one, you’ve got mysterious camps, ghost children and garden gnomes causing havoc. This will be a good addition to my classroom graphic novels.

Escape from the Lizzarks

The first book in the Nnewts series follows the story of Herk, a lovable Nnewt who longs for stronger legs, something his mother and father wish they could give him. When his quaint village is attacked by the reptile Lizzarks, he’s forced to flee his home and leave behind the only life he’s ever known. Now, all alone and on the run, Herk navigates a dangerous world filled with strange creatures and mysterious wonders, where friends are few and an evil lord is in hot pursuit.

Another one from Doug TenNapel (because we love the ones we love in this life!). This was different… it was a lot more bizarre than the others I’ve read (but not in a bad way!). This has some brilliant illustrations that really bring the story to life. This tells the story of a young newt who must leave his village when it is attacked and find his way without his parents – where he comes across some scary things and ultimately leads him to find himself!

Claudia and Mean Janine

Claudia and her sister, Janine, may as well be from two different planets. Claudia, who pays more attention to her artwork and The Baby-sitters Club than her homework, feels like she can’t compete with her perfect sister. Janine studies nonstop, gets straight As, and even takes college-level courses! But when something unexpected happens to the most beloved person in their family, will the sisters be able to put aside their differences?

This is another series of graphic novels that I read a child and I just adore these books. I’ve read the rest of the series and I was desperate to get to read more (so half term blessed me with that!) In this installment, Mimi falls poorly and Claudia blames herself. She finds her relationship with her sister a struggle and they have to find their way through Mimi’s illness and trying to understand each other. This is such a great series! Lush messages about the importance of listening and being honest about how you feel. This is going to go down an absolute treat in my class (we LOVE Raina Telgemeier in my classroom!)

Dawn and the Impossible Three

Dawn Schafer is the newest member of The Baby-sitters Club. While she’s still adjusting to life in Stoneybrook after moving from sunny California, she’s eager to accept her first big job. But taking care of the three Barrett kids would be too much for any baby-sitter. The house is always a mess, the kids are out of control, and Mrs. Barrett never does any of the things she promises. On top of all that, Dawn wants to fit in with the other members of the BSC, but she can’t figure out how to get along with Kristy. Was joining The Baby-sitters Club a mistake?

More Babysitters Club goodness. I really love that this series deals with some meaty topics (divorce, moving away, new families etc) in such a brilliant way. I think lots of kids will find themselves relating to the characters in some way in this series! Moving away from Raina Telgemeier, this one is done brilliantly by Gale Galligan. The rest of this series have been such a hot in my classroom that I can’t wait to add more!

Kristy’s Big Day

“Kristy’s mom is getting married, and Kristy is going to be a bridesmaid! The only problem? Fourteen kids are coming to town for the wedding. Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, Stacey, Dawn, and Mallory think they can handle it, but that’s before they spend a week changing diapers, stopping arguments, solving mix-ups, and planning activities. It’s the biggest job the BSC has ever had, but they’ll work together to make sure Kristy’s big day is a success!

The last of the Babysitters Club that I’ve read recently and I just thought it was lush. It was so canny! This continues in the route of dealing with sensitive issues so brilliantly: this one tells the story of two families merging into one… despite a knot of uncertainty from Kristy! I really enjoyed this – I loved the messages about merging families and the honesty of feelings from the characters while we have a lot of manic looking after children and shopping for wedding outfits! I’ve been part of manic family gatherings, so I know the feeling! The illustrations are so so well done by Gale Galligan too. So much colour and vibrancy!

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PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE if you have any recommendations for graphic novels for me to buy that would work for my Y6s, I’d love to hear them! Even better if you can tell me how to get them cheap second hand, ha!

S x

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