Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks

I was so excited for this release today! I went to the bookstore and treated myself to it and came home and promptly read it in one sitting. (the only disappointment here is that I wish it was long, even though the story perfectly suited the length.)
This is a bit of graphic novel dream pairing for me and ever since it was announced I’ve been eagerly awaiting this.
I really, really enjoyed everything about this: the charming pumpkin patch setting, the clever chapter titles, the fudge nicknames, how the characters are drawn, the snacks, and how you could see the characters realizing things just by their eyes.
Perfect timing-a treat to read on the brink of fall.
And now I just have to hope for a sequel showing Josiah and Deja in college!

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This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews

This was SO WONDERFUL. A nice heavy (really-I think it was printed on heavy paper) good long graphic novel. This is a super charming tale, that reminded me in many ways of the show Over the Garden Wall.  This was terrific blend of completely realistic and magical. And one of the charming things is how the magical stuff is accepted, even though it seems to be established at the start that the boys live in a regular world like we do.

The two boys, Ben and Nathaniel, really aren’t friends, but once were. And as so often happens one remains quirky and “weird” and the other now has a new group of friends who make fun of the first kid.

Ben and Nathaniel and other boys have made a pact to follow lanterns that their town puts in the river every year and see where they go. As the other boys drop off it ends up being just Ben and Nathaniel. Nathaniel’s persistently cheerful, “wow isn’t this exciting!” “Oh hey, a talking bear!” attitude is absolutely delightful. Ben, of course, finds it quite annoying.

This bike ride turns into a quest with all kinds of adventures and magical moments. I loved their bear friend. I loved the dialogue, too.

A total winner.

*I’m seeing a lot of comparison on Goodreads to Miyazaki films and I’d definitely agree with that. As a fan of those films, it makes sense that I liked this so much. Also thought it was interesting that I saw someone list as a negative the length of the book, but I thought it was a plus. I loved that there was a fair amount of text to read and the story was pretty long. I was immersed in it and sorry to see the journey end.

Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable, Ellen Crenshaw

From the fantastic author of the terrific children’s series, Guinea P.I., here comes a full length YA graphic novel. Overall, I liked this very much, though I specifically preferred the second half of the book (when I felt like things really got moving, and I loved the ending as well as the author/illustrator interview.) There’s a bit of a family history mystery here that is sad and interesting and solid and informs much of the way her family acts. But then the main part of the story is a bit of self discovery, coming of age, type story. I want to click my “unlikable main character” box over there in my categories because I really, really could not stand Mads’s best friend, Cat. And I got so angry with Mads for not only remaining her friend, but also (to my mind) being inexplicably attracted to her! This was one of those stories where there were a few times I wanted to give the main character a good talking to about the choices she was making.  I always think it’s good when the characters in a story provoke a strong reaction in the reader, so that’s not necessarily a negative.

Solid.

 

Time Museum, vol. 2 by Matthew Loux

I’ve been eagerly waiting for this sequel for about a year now and I have to admit….I didn’t like it nearly as much as the first one and it ended up feeling like a bit of a letdown. It felt as if time had passed since establishing everything in the first book and like we were just expected to know what the deal was now. There was no recapping, which was difficult reading these in real time publication. And somehow the adventures just felt convoluted? scattered? I don’t know, it just didn’t capture me in the same way the first book did.

Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel: A Modern Retelling of Little Women by Rey Terciero and

True confession: I’ve never actually read Little Women! Which is crazy because it sure seems right up my alley when I was a teen (and now.) I have a fond memory of going to see the film version with Winona Ryder on a snowy day in Pittsburgh (I could walk to the movie theater, which I loved.) And I know what happens in it, I just never really read it. Fortunately I know enough to have known what was updated in this modern retelling and see how it worked. I got this for Tabby and she read it first and really liked it. Now that I’ve read it and really liked it I’m thinking it would be fun for us to read the original and then watch the movie. (and there’ll be a new movie soon enough, too.)

Although I felt that the characters retained their essence in this modern version, I found that I liked them better. Sure, Amy is still a brat, but I didn’t think anyone was simpering or drippy. They were a lovely tight knit family. I liked how in this update they are a blended family. I thought that the letters written to their dad were a bit expository, but hey sometimes that happens when you need to get info to the reader.  Tabby and I especially loved the last page, truly making this a new Little Women for our times.

Terra Tempo: The Four Corners of Time by David Shapiro, Christopher Herndon

This is #2 in the Terra Tempo series, but it was fine that I hadn’t read #1 as they kindly filled me in on everything in a brief intro. This was an enjoyable graphic novel filled with adventure and so much interesting geology and natural history that it almost seemed like a Science Comics at times. At times some of the plot was a little confusing, including how and why a giant bird sometimes saves them, but overall I thought this was good time travel for kids.

New Shoes by Sara Varon

Well this was just delightful. A graphic novel that is almost like a long form picture book? Or maybe not. I read it in one short sitting. The setting is South America and the characters are all animals that do live there in real life. But these animals live in a little village and have jobs and wear clothes and such. Francis is a shoemaker of some high regard and he is thrilled when asked to make shoes for his favorite calypso performer Miss Manatee. Do I love calypso music? No. But every time anyone listened to music in the book and the words were written out you could totally hear them in your head as a calypso song: “mango, banana, & tangerine…sugar & ackee & cocoa bean…”  and it is delightful!  Francis’s friend and supplier is missing and so he has to go into the jungle to look for him. He has quite an adventure and his guidebook really comes in handy. Turns out his friend is in a pickle but all resolves very nicely in a clever and surprising story. One of the nice things about this are all of the accurate details about the animals, plants, fruits, etc. It is such a charming and complete package.