Tiny Newts!

Rise of Herk: Nnewts #2 by Doug Tennapel

This is the second book in a great graphic novel series which is basically about amphibians and reptiles and lizards in space. The main character is a young Nnewt named Herk who, until the first book, has never grown legs. But as it turns out, he was always meant to be a hero.

I really, really enjoyed this book and like this series a lot. There’s a lot of great stuff in there – fun, bright, illustrations, fast paced, good language for early readers and no doubt a popular choice with young readers.

Last movie I watched:

Part of Sleeping Beauty. Not my favourite.

Last TV show I watched:

Supernatural. So bad and yet, so good.

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Ninja Turtles aren’t as fun as I remember

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Animated Adventures: Vol 3 by Justin Eisnger and Alonzo Simon plus 23 other artists

It’s not that the Ninja Turtles aren’t awesome, they are, but this book wasn’t a great example. For  book that’s no more than 150 pages, 8 short stories in there means that the quality of the stories isn’t great. Some of them are cute and fun, and they all do a great job of displaying the Ninja Turtles different personalities, but there’s no time to build a story or a villain or really any readers investment

Having said that, this book really is targeted at young readers. I don’t like dumbed down stories to make them more appealing to kids because kids are smart and shouldn’t be talked down to. But particularly for kids who are having trouble with comprehension reading really short stories is a good way to practice developing that skill.

Final report: As an adult looking for a fun, kid’s graphic novel experience, it kind of failed. But as a story for kids who love Ninja Turtles and could use a little light reading, it’s probably great.

Last movie I watched:

Probably still Victor Frankenstein. As previously mentioned, it didn’t do a lot for me.

Last TV episode I watched:

Touch, which I love in all possible ways. But I wonder why they never say “autism” to describe Jake and whether this is part of a failure to recognize autistic people or not and what an autistic viewer would think.

 

Tiniest Heros

Nnewts Book One Escape from the Lizzarks by Doug TenNapel

This is a pretty fantastic novel contains pretty much every trope you’ve ever heard but it was wonderful, essentially reminding me that tropes become part of our narrative for a particular reason, because they are important to our understanding of ourself.

Herk is a little nnewt. His legs haven’t grown in yet, he still can’t walk. But his Dad, the nnewt magician, loving mother, little sister Sissy and the eggs (his future brothers and sisters) love him and encourage him anyway. Despite his small legs, he’s happy. One normal night his Dad goes out with his friends who discovered something unusual they found on their hunt. It was a trap, the Lizzarks have come for Nnewttown. Herk’s mother saves his life, and he flees alone. The last nnewt from Nnewtown, alone in the world. But there is more to this little nnewt then anyone realizes.

So we get to see the underdog, the smallest one becoming the hero, the loss of the parents in a tragic and revenge driving quest, the mythical quest to become stronger, adoption after the loss of the family and long lost siblings. They’re all in there but the story is beautiful. Herk is the underdog you want to win, who you want to cheer with when he succeeds and you worry about when he’s in danger. The supporting characters are sweet, strong and funny.

This book also handles the murder of so many characters in a serious way. After they die, Herk’s family become lights, walking towards their god. It’s probably the most beautiful scene in the book.

I strongly recommend this for young readers looking for a fast pace, interesting story with great illustrations and lots of good stuff to come.

Last movie I watched:

About Time. So lovely. So lovely.

Last TV episode I watched:

Love It or List it. DAMNIT HILARY I DON’T CARE THAT THERE’S A FIRE HAZARD YOU PROMISED ME A TUB

 

 

It just gets better!

Saga Volume 3 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Here there be spoilers.

The story of Saga is just getting better, more complicated and more intricate.  Which is pretty amazing. While in the first book all the other stories felt a little like subplots, now it’s hard to tell which story you want to read more. Hazel, still an infant as well as an omnipotent narrator is with her family as they struggle to adjust to life after Marko’s father’s death, and to life as a family in Heist, a reclusive author’s,care. Meanwhile the Will is pursuing them with Gwendolyn, Marko’s ex-fiancee and the slave girl, renamed Sophie but their plans are derailed by damage to their ship. Prince IV and the politics of his world continue, with a weird mix of mechanical-ism and  compassion. And Upsher and Doff are introduced – two journalists on the trail of Alana, Marko and Alana.

I can’t even really talk about all the super epic things that happen in this book because everyone should be reading it and I don’t want to spoil it. So I will write a list.

Three things I loved:

  1. Introduction of well rounded gay characters! Always adds to the reading experience to me.
  2. The illustrations are beautiful. Absolutely stunning. It’s impossible to imagine the story being the same, or even as good without the illustrations.
  3. The touching scene when Slave Girl is sitting with Lying Cat (a blue cat that can tell if someone is lying) and reciting facts about herself. When she says that’s she’s been made dirty by her time in sexual slavery the cat informs her that she is lying. It’s a beautiful scene and so important because of the stigma around sex that often leads to victims blaming themselves, even little girls. Perfect.

I love Saga. I’m looking forward to reading the next one, whenever that will be. If you aren’t, you should be!

Last movie I watched:

Lego Movie. So funny.

Last TV episode I watched:

Unbreakable Kimmy Schimdt. Even funnier.

Fairy tale + detective genre = Fairly Good

Fairest: Of Men and Mice by Marc Andreyko and Shawn McManus

Fables is a graphic novel series that I have not read. I believe Fairest is a spin off series from Fables, and with the exception of Men and Mice, I haven’t read it either. I was just looking for something quickly in the graphic novel section and I grabbed it. Because that’s what I do.

Fairest focuses on the fairy tale princesses in a world that’s a mix of fantasy, gritty detective and modern. Cinderella is on the hunt for Fairy Godmother, whose being targeted by a bunch of half man, half rats. As part of a network of former princesses, Cindy has support from some other ladies, a few former lovers and the creatures from across stories and nursery rhymes.

I think it’s probably a really good story, although without the proper context it was a little hard to follow. The interesting fairy tale tie ins everywhere reminded me of a darker, grimmer, sexier Once Upon a Time.

Unfortunately that’s one of the downsides to it. Like most comics, the women are drawn in an overly sexy way, and seem to be very driven by their sexuality. I don’t really know what I was expecting but it was pretty obvious that, although it’s a graphic novel about women, it’s really written for straight men .

That’s okay I guess. I’m just a little disappointed.

Last movie I watched:

No idea. It was a long time ago.

Last TV episode I watched:

Most of  a Futurama. Which was hilarious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biological warfare, ethics and pacifism for the under 13 crowd

Gregor the Overlander: Curse of the Warm Bloods by Suzanne Collins

Fair warning from the start: I am going to spoil this book. Now, in my defense, I did guess the big reveal in the third or forth chapter,so maybe the spoilers aren’t that huge, but you know… just in case.

Gregor is once again summoned to the Underland by his friends there, when a dangerous plague breaks out and starts killing all the warm bloods – humans, rats, bats and mice. However, his mother is unwilling to just let him and Boots, his baby sister, disappear into the darkness again, so she goes with them. Suitably embarrassed to introduce his mother to the people who call him Warrior, Gregor, his Mom and Boots arrive. They learn that Aries, Gregor’s beloved bat was the first known case, that the rats are continuing to suffer in their war against the humans and soon Gregor’s mother comes down with the plague. Guided by a prophecy and a jittery medical doctor, Gregor and Boots lead a quest of all species (human, bat, rat and cockroach) to get the cure – a special flower. But ultimately the quest fails and then they realize – the cure was always with them because the humans had been trying to engineer it the whole time, so they could use the sickness as a biological weapon against the rats. They turn back, and when they arrive home, they learn that the humans have found a cure, Gregor’s mom and Aries will be fine but Gregor’s view of his friends is forever altered. A lot less hopefully then usual, Gregor and Boots go home (their Mom is not well enough to travel), setting up the next book.

Obviously the Hunger Games, Collins much bigger (better) series, has a lot of equally large and grim commentary. This whole series does too, but biological warfare and whether or not it’s ever okay (Gregor votes no, and I think I do too) is a pretty serious concept for a middle school child. Having said that, they probably deserve a story that helps them understand what they’ve seen or likely will see on the news. It also does a good job of breaking down the theory of pacifism through a character who, after being responsible for the death of dozen of rats, including babies, refuses to fight again. Really overall, it’s a good Big Ideas book.

Also Boots, the baby, is well handled and very adorable.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, although I didn’t have a problem putting it down and coming back to it later. But it gave me a lot to think about.

Last movie I watched:

Cloud Atlas. I really liked it but I think I missed something

Last TV episode I watched:

Orphan Black!!!!! Everyone needs this show in their life.

 

 

Geronimo Stilton doesn’t nail it

Geronimo Stilton: Singing Sensation

This was not Geronimo Stilton at his strongest and no one could be more disappointed then I am. Generally I love Geronimo. Way too much for someone who’s a few years shy of 30 anyway.

This particular one has the trademark fun fonts and Geronimo Stilton’s fumbling, hilarious mishaps but the story was lacking in anything fun or interesting. What you’d imagine to be the story – Geronimo unwillingly entered into a singing contest – is over by the 40th page or so and the rest is Geronimo tracking down some cats who are participating in musical piracy and thwarting them.

I mean, I’m a librarian, I have a healthy respect for copyright law and the pros and cons of the current copyright situation and of course, at the end of the day people should get paid for their arts and talents. But this book was simplistic (literally stolen CDs being burned and sold) and honestly, dull. I’m not sure that anyone, least of all the target audience, is really excited about music pirates. Not musical pirates, because obviously that would be wonderful.

Anyway I’m not going to write off the whole series because of this one but I’m probably not going recommend this one particularly to any kids I run into. Just not that good.

Last movie I watched:

STAR WARS FORCE AWAKENS!!!!!!!! But I can’t talk about it

Last TV episode I watched:

Smallville. Man, I love this show but I had forgotten how lame the first season is