Saturday, October 12, 2013

Saturday Morning Cartoons-- A Bag of Marbles

A Bag of Marbles: The Graphic NovelJoffo, Joseph and Bailly, Vincent. A Bag of Marbles. 
1 October 2013, Graphic Universe
E ARC from

Based on the 1973? Memoir, this graphic novel follows the experiences of brothers Maurice and Joseph when the Nazis take over Paris. Their parents, who themselves have survived pogroms in Russia, send them off on their own to travel eventually to Nice, where their two older brothers live. The parents, who run a barber shop, hope to follow. The boys have a number of adventures, helping others escape into the unoccupied zone, almost being caught by Nazis but maintaining that they are Catholic, even getting a priest to send baptismal records for them so they can avoid being arrested. Their parents survive for a while, but the father eventually ends up in a concentration camp. The E ARC I had of this had very pixelated pictures, so I was not able to get much of the story from them, and had to rely on only the text. I may read the memoir and see if it would be a good fit for the Holocaust unit that our 8th grade does; I will be buying this version.
Strengths: Like Jablonski’s Resistance trilogy, this offers a slightly different experience of Jews during WWII. The graphics seemed colorful, if out of focus, and this publisher usually does very nice graphic treatments.  I like how the boys had some pleasant experiences; their war was not the 24/7 experience that some people had, and that is interesting to read.
Weaknesses: This errs perhaps on the side of being too upbeat. Certainly, bad things happen to the family, but they seemed to be downplayed.

14999720 MacLachlan, Patricia. White Fur Flying. 
19 March 2013, Margaret K. McElderry Books
Nominated by: Bridget Wilson

Zoe's family takes in Great Pyrenees dogs when they need to be fostered, and the dogs add to the warm chaos of the home. When Phillip moves in to the house next door to be with his aunt and uncle because his parents are having troubles, he is drawn to the dogs. Phillip doesn't speak, but this doesn't stop Zoe's sister Alice, an inveterate story teller, from befriending him. Phillip's aunt is very cold and controlled, and doesn't understand the boy, although he gets along well enough with Zoe's family. When a huge storm rolls in, Phillip and one of the dogs go missing, but all ends well.
Strengths: This would be a nice read aloud for an elementary school, especially to tie in with a service project with rescue dogs. It shows that Phillip has problems, but doesn't elaborate, and there is some comic relief with a rescue parrot.
Weaknesses: As soon as Phillip went missing, I knew how the book would end. The aunt and uncle were very cliched characters, and this felt like something I had read before.


Alex Baugh said...

I have A Bag of Marbles to read and review now, so I am even more curious about it.

I did read White Fur Flying and thought it was OK. I had aged in as 7-10, which is elementary age so I was surprised to see it on the MG Cybils nominated books. I thought it wouldn't feel so predictable to younger readers.

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