Grace’s Book Review: Yorick and Bones

Yorick and Bones by Jeremy Tankard and Hermione Tankard

First Line: “Grumble, grumble. So tired.” Spoken by a man, pushing a hotdog cart. 

Summary: This graphic novel tells the classic story of a skeleton and his dog. Accidentally awakened by a witch’s potion, our hero, Yorick, finds a world that is a little different than the one he knew four hundred years ago. The main difference being that people run from him in fear. One individual will stick by his side, though—a dog he affectionately calls Bones.  

My Thoughts: This book has it all—Shakespeare references, dogs, jokes about death, a skeleton going through an existential crisis—truly, what more can you want from a book? 

Despite the fact that this book is written to an 8–12-year-old audience, the humor is extremely enjoyable no matter how old you are. I read it and am in my twenties and loved it, and I recommended it to multiple friends who also enjoyed it (forsooth, I cannot begin to shut up about it, a mere inquiry of my coworkers would show you that). Of course, it is a very quick read if you are above the intended audience, but it’s hilarious.  

If you think a book written in slight Elizabethan English sounds fun, if you know (or are) a kid who likes dog books, if you are looking for something different, or if you just want an easy feel-good read, Yorick and Bones is the one for you! 

Mom and Me Reviews: Red Riding Hood

This classic fairy tale is retold in graphic novel form for elementary aged readers. This version of the story includes the woodsman, red, grandmother, and red’s mother. Red’s mother asks her to deliver moon cakes and steamed buns to her grandmother, but a tricky wolf distracts her and tries to lead her off the path.

First Line: “Once upon a time there was a girl named Red.”

Summary: This classic fairy tale is retold in graphic novel form for elementary aged readers. This version of the story includes the woodsman, red, grandmother, and red’s mother. Red’s mother asks her to deliver moon cakes and steamed buns to her grandmother, but a tricky wolf distracts her and tries to lead her off the path.

Ratings:

                Maggie: 5 stars

                Conor: One laugh (for mama’s funny reading voice)

                Mama Lala: 4 stars

Their Thoughts: This story was different from the other versions Maggie has been told. We haven’t heard of a woodsman in this story before. Grandmother’s role is also different from the version we know. She liked the telling of this story in graphic novel form, though, and didn’t think it strange to be both graphic novel and read aloud.

My Thoughts: This is a fantastic introduction to the world of graphic novels. Aside from the story, there is also an instruction on how to read graphic novels, panels, and word bubbles– perfect for the age group who would be attracted to this book.

The book also included an introduction to the characters and some atypical words within the story (before the story began), and hosted some review and writing prompts at the end of the tale. Those things alone make this book worth reading.

I agree with Maggie that the story was well transferred into a graphic novel. I liked the delivery.

The story itself was nothing new, so it didn’t hold my attention especially well. However, if tried-and-true fairy tales are your “bag”, this is a great option for you!

FYI: This is a part of a series! There are a total of 6 books in the series. Derby Public library currently has two: Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty.

Happy Reading our friends,

Mama Lala, Maggie, & Conor

What’s Ashley Reading?: Hedy Lamarr, An Incredible Life

Hedy Lamarr: An Incredible Life by William Roy and Sylvain Dorange

First line: Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, it’s time for our mystery celebrity.

Summary: Hedy Lamarr, once considered to be the most beautiful woman in the world, was an actress and an inventor. She was born and grew up in Austria. However, when Europe seemed to be on the brink of world war, she fled to England and then the United States. Upon arrival she started her career in Hollywood. She starred in blockbuster films, married multiple times and lived the life of celebrity. But she also had a secret. She was a scientist. She loved inventing things and learning about the world around her.

My Thoughts: Several years ago, I read The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict, where I learned about Hedy Lamarr for the first time. It was a wonderful story about a fantastic woman. She was greatly overlooked for her inventions and only remembered for her looks. I love that people are now realizing her greatness.

I loved this version of her life. Graphic novels are becoming a form of literature that I have been more open to recently. I loved the artwork. It was all beautifully done and had lots of detail. Sometimes I find myself overlooking the art in a graphic novel but this one I took my time to look longer at the scenes before turning the page. If you are looking for a quick read and want to learn something new then this is perfect for you.

FYI: This is available on Hoopla only.

What’s Ashley Reading?: Leia, Princess of Alderaan

Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray and Haruichi

First Line: A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Summary: Leia, the princess of Alderaan, is learning how to lead and one day take over the role of Queen. She needs to prove herself. But she is worried that she will not be able to live up to her parents expectations. And recently she has noticed her parents paying less attention to her. Are they disappointed? Or has she done something to upset them? She decides that she is going to take matters into her own hands with the hopes of earning their approval.

My Thoughts: I’ve read this story before but I had read the novel when it first came out and this is manga. This is my first venture into manga. If you have never read or even heard of manga I will give you a quick summary. Manga is a Japanese comic or graphic novel. They are usually printed in black and white. But the most challenging bit (for me at least) is reading from right to left. It took me a while to get used to the format and focus on following the story properly. I really enjoyed it!

I liked the artwork, the story was still great and it was a new adventure. If you want to try something different and are a fan of Star Wars I would highly recommend picking this up!

FYI: This is the same plot as the novel by the same name.

What’s Ashley Reading?: Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing: Twin Branches by Maggie Stiefvater and Morgan Beem

First line: Plants have long been underestimated.

Summary: Walker and Alec Holland are twin brothers who are nothing alike but are still inseparable. Walker loves to be the center of attention while Alec is more quiet and reserved. Their last summer before college is spent in a rural town with their cousins. While Walker makes friends and parties, Alec spends his time working on a science experiment that starts to affect the swamp outside of town.

My Thoughts: This is a DC Comics reimagining of the origin story of Swamp Thing. Author Maggie Stiefvater works with illustrator, Morgan Beem to create a new beginning for one of their classic villains. I liked how they included science and information about plants into the story. It does a little teaching while also entertaining. I wasn’t completely sold on the art work but near the end as the swamp and its creatures started to appear I came to like it more. I am not familiar with the character Swamp Thing but I did enjoy this. It is a fast story from one of my favorite YA authors.

I got to watch an interview with the author, illustrator and moderator (Laini Taylor – another fantastic YA author) via Watermarks Books. It was great to listen to them talk about their work and how they developed the book. If you would like to see their conversation it can be found on Watermark’s Facebook page.

FYI: This is a graphic novel.

What’s Ashley Reading?: The Forbidden Forest Read-a-thon Week One

It has been just over one week since the start of the Forbidden Forest Read-a-thon here at the library. And boy has it been one heck of a week. You do not realize the pressure you are under when you are given a set number of books to read in just a month! It is a little intimidating.

Going into the challenge I figured that this would be a piece of cake. I have already read over 100 books this year. Twelve books should be easy right?! I have finished three at this point which is a fairly good place to be but they were the shorter ones. Several on my list are hovering around five hundred pages. Yikes! Maybe I was overly ambitious but I am determined to finish this challenge.

So far I have finished reading A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (we own the movie but not the book) and The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way. Each has had their ups and downs but I would say my favorite so far has been The Umbrella Academy graphic novel. I have even read book two and have three on my desk for later.

The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way

First line: It was the same year “Tusslin’ Tom” Gurney knocked out the space-squid from Rigel X-9…

Summary: At the exact same moment forty-three babies were born to women who had previously not been pregnant. Of the forty-three newborns born, seven of them were adopted by the eccentrically wealthy Reginald Hargreeves. He knew that there was something special about these children. For years they lived quietly hidden away in his mansion until one day when they reappeared in order to save the world. They called themselves The Umbrella Academy.

My Thoughts: I am not one that is much interested in graphic novels but they are slowly growing on me. I have now read a handful and started to enjoy them. The Netflix show based on the graphic novels is why I chose this book for the reading challenge. There are many similarities between the two but lots of differences as well. Each stand well on their own. The art is very interesting to look at. It is not realistic but it is not too cartoonish.

I liked the story because it is dark and imaginative. The authors create such an interesting world that it is not hard to get sucked into it. One of the characters, Number One or Luther, is part man and part ape. He is gigantic and spends quite a bit of his youth on the moon. Who thinks this stuff up? It is different which makes it fun. I am looking forward to book three and on.

FYI: There is a lot of violence which did not affect me at all but it may be too much for younger readers. This is book one in the series.

What’s Ashley Reading?: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

We recently added a new service called Hoopla!  It is a website/app that patrons can use to check out ebooks, audiobooks, TV shows, movies and music on their devices.  Each patron is allowed eight items a month.  The items range from new and popular to the classics.

I have started to play around with it a little bit.  I like that there are a wide variety of books, old Disney movies, British TV shows and soundtracks available.  I recently realized that I can even add the app to my Fire Stick and stream the movies on my TV!  How cool is that?!

One of the features I found most intriguing even though I do not read a lot in the genre is graphic novels.  The site has a very good selection.  While enjoying the story the reader can hover their mouse over the images to enlarge them (because sometimes that print is very small). This also helps when looking at the artwork and seeing more of the details.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Robert Aguirre-Sacasa

Summary: Sabrina Spellman, a teenage witch is the daughter of a mortal and a warlock. On the eve of her sixteenth birthday she has to make the decision to join the Church of Night. She is currently living with her two maiden aunties in a funeral home.

Highlights: I picked this as one of my first items to check out from Hoopla. I had recently watched the new Netflix series based on the graphic novel and I watched the original TV show as a teenager. I enjoyed the stories in the first volume. They are very dark! The art work is very interesting.  I never read the Archie comics (which these are a spinoff of) but several characters from their universe appear in the Sabrina stories.

So if you are expecting the nice and bright Melissa Joan Hart version this is not it. Salem, the cat, is still here as well as her aunts, Hilda and Zelda, but after that everything is different.

Lowlights: Since graphic novels are more centered around the art work the stories are much shorter. I wanted a little more story but I guess I will just have to check out volume 2 for that.

FYI: There is very dark themes and imagery.

Book Review: Wires and Nerve: Gone Rogue

Wires and Nerve: Volume 2: Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer

First line: Almost a year has passes since we overthrew the wicked tyrant, Queen Levana, and crowned my best friend, Cinder—AKA Princess Selene Blackburn—as the true queen of Luna.

Summary: In the second installment of the Wires and Nerve graphic novels by Marissa Meyer we see Iko and Steele continue to hunt the blood thirsty genetically altered soldiers of Queen Levana. The soldiers have refused to return to Luna and accept that the war is over. With the planned trip to Earth, Cinder and her friends are worried about being attacked while celebrating the new peace treaty between the two nations. It is up to Iko and Steele to prevent this from happening.

Highlights: I loved the Lunar Chronicles. The fairytales intermixed with science fiction/fantasy were fun and exciting. I was happy to see that Meyer was going to continue and expand her universe with the Wires and Nerve stories. I am not much of a graphic novel reader but these were fun. The drawings were simple and monotone but still fit perfectly into the Lunar universe.

Lowlights: With graphic novels, the stories are usually short and very basic. I wanted more. I wanted to see more of my favorite characters. This is why I cannot read too many graphic novels. I like a fuller story.

FYI: Second in the series. However, you need to read the Lunar Chronicles before reading these!

Book review: The Shape of Ideas

The Shape of Ideas by Grant Snider

This review will not look like one of our normal reviews, because this graphic novel isn’t a story with a first line, or story, but a fun collection of ideas.

I love the subtitle of this book—”An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity” because I feel that’s the essence of this book. I’ve read a couple reviews that indicate that this book isn’t great at motivating or being a self-help book. However, I’m not sure that’s what it’s meant to be.

If you’ve ever consciously engaged in the creative process in any way (art, writing, creating in any form including sewing, fiber arts, paper crafts, anything!) you’ll find some familiar feels in this book. From variations on a blank page to a walk in the park, I love the thoughts and experiences shared in this fun book.

The pictures are so detailed and fun to examine. And it seemed like on every page I found words or a picture that just spoke to me and my own creative experiences.

Late August new releases

Man, it feels like we were just here talking about early August new releases, and now it’s time for late August new books already! The good news is we have THREE more Tuesdays in August for that much more good reading to be available!

Here are a few of the books we think will make an end-of-summer splash with their releases later this month. Which ones will make it onto your list of to-reads?

Cover of Bonaparte Falls Apart
This new picture book is great for Halloween or the start of the school year.

Aug. 15: Bonaparte Falls Apart by Margery Cuyler (picture book)
If you have a child who is anxious about starting school, check out this adorable picture book about Bonaparte, who has issues when playing catch (his arm flies off with the ball) and other minor mishaps. His good friends Franky Stein, Black Widow and Mummicula are there to help him out.

 

Aug. 15: How to Behave in a Crowd by Camille Bordas
Meet Isidore Mazal, an average 11-year-old who lives in France with his five exceptional older siblings. While his siblings are on track to have their doctorates by age 24, writing a novel or playing with a symphony, Isidore notices things and asks questions others are afraid to ask. When the Mazal family experiences a tragedy, Isidore is the one to notice how the rest of the family is handling their grief and he may be the only one who can save the family, if he doesn’t decide to run away from home first.

Aug. 15: A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor (young adult)
Emma and Henri are sisters who have always been best friends. Emma trusted Henri implicitly, and then something happens that wrecks them and they end up washed ashore. They are stranded with only Alex, a troubled boy who has secrets of his own.

Aug. 22: Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton
In the second-to-last installment of Grafton’s alphabet mysteries, Kinsey Millhone finds herself in drawn into one of her most disturbing cases yet. In 1979, four boys sexually assaulted a teenage girl, videotaped it, and not long after the videotape went missing and one of the boys was killed. Fast forward to 1989 when one of the perpetrators is released from prison. A copy of the missing videotape shows up with a note demanding ransom, and the perpetrator’s family calls Kinsey in.

Cover of The Half-True Lies of Cricket Cohen
Cricket and her grandmother Dodo go on a Manhattan adventure in this middle-grades novel by Catherine Lloyd Burns.

Aug. 22: The Half-True Lies of Cricket Cohen by Catherine Lloyd Burns (middle-grades novel)
From Goodreads: “Cricket Cohen isn’t a liar, but she doesn’t always tell the exact truth. She loves thinking about geology and astronomy and performing tricky brain surgery on her stuffed animals. She also loves conspiring with Dodo, her feisty grandmother who lives in the apartment right next door. And one Manhattan weekend when she’s in hot water with her teacher and her controlling parents over a fanciful memoir essay, Cricket goes along with Dodo’s questionable decision to hit the bricks. Imagining all sorts of escapades, Cricket is happy to leave home behind. But on a crosstown adventure with an elderly woman who has her own habit of mixing truth and fantasy, some hard realities may start to get in the way of all the fun.”

Aug. 22: Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin
Aviva Grossman is a congressional intern in Florida. When she engages in an affair with her boss — a very married congressman — then blogs about it, she takes the fall when it goes public. She changes her name and moves to Maine to become a wedding planner. However, as events in her life unfold, she discovers that thanks to the power of the Internet, her past is never actually left behind.

Cover of Glass Houses by Louise Penny, the 13th novel in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series
Louise Penny’s beloved Inspector Armand Gamache faces not just a physical investigation into a murder, but an internal investigation of his conscience.

Aug. 29: Glass Houses (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #13) by Louise Penny
A mysterious figure appears on the village green in Three Pines. A body is discovered when it vanishes and it is up to Gamache to discover the ins and outs of the murder. The story takes the reader not just through the discovery of the body and the arrest of the suspect, but through the trial of the accused. All the while, Gamache wrestles with the actions he’s set in motion, and his conscience.

Aug. 29: Pretend You’re Safe by Alexandra Ivy
A serial killer buries his victims on the banks of the Mississippi. Years later, the rains and floods unearth the bodies. While his victims were disappearing, Jaci Patterson was finding “gifts” on her porch — the first was a golden locket with a few strands of hair wrapped around a bloodstained ribbon inside. The deputy sheriff at the time was convinced that Jaci was just a publicity-seeking teen. Until Jaci comes home again, and the nightmare has started again.

Aug. 29: Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties by Dav Pilkey
Dog Man is back in his third adventure from the author of the Captain Underpants series. Dog Man is on the police force, which hasn’t always been the best thing to happen. But now, Petey the cat has dragged in some trouble, in the form of a kitten, and Dog Man is going to have to work extra hard to stay top dog!