Saturday, September 22, 2018

Puffin Graphic Novels, Bobbie Mendoza Saves the World (Again)

Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty Puffin Graphics PlusAugust 28th 2018 by Puffin Books (first published November 24th 1877)
Copy provided by the publisher

Baum, L. Frank. The Wizard of Oz Puffin Graphics Plus
August 28th 2018 by Puffin Books (first published 1900)
Copy provided by the publisher

These Graphic Novels Plus include the full text of the original books after matte, full color illustrated versions. I prefer the matte printing to the glossy, since it doesn't have a distinctive smell that bothers me. This printing method works especially well for Black Beauty's Victorian setting, and the drawings in the Wizard of Oz are rendered in colors bright enough for the glory of the Emerald City.

The graphic versions of bother stories stay very true to the original story line, character descriptions, and even language of the original books. This would make them helpful for struggling readers who are assigned these books for class or want to investigate the titles on their own. Pictures support the tough concepts and vocabulary.

The Wizard of Oz will seem odd to readers who are only familiar with the 1939 Judy Garland movie, but the darker aspects of Baum's tale come through in the more modern renditions of characters, with Dorothy depicted as a sort of skater girl with a bare midriff! There are fewer and fewer children who have seen the movie, so the graphic novel is a good way to keep the story alive.

My daughter absolutely adored Black Beauty as a child, and was also a big fan of Illustrated Classics, so I may surprise her with this for her birthday!

I know that the copyright hasn't run out on the novels that middle school teachers use in classes, but I'd love to see graphic novel versions of Paulsen's Hatchet, Lowry's The Giver, or Hinton's The Outsiders.

F37677968ry, Michael and Jackson, Bradley. Bobbie Mendoza Saves the World (Again)September 18th 2018 by HarperCollins
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

After her difficulties with Trans-Dimensional beings in The Naughty List, Bobbie just wants to put her experience behind her and start her new school as quietly as possible. Unfortunately, her Uncle Dale keeps dragging her to a support group for people who have had similar experiences, and they run into Lorain the Bounty Hunter, and when she starts her new school, she not only has Phil and Gumdrop, the elves, show up in her locker, and also has to deal with the talkative and inquisitive Cole Crusterman, who reads Uncle Dale's blog and is constantly trying to live stream his conversations with Bobbie. After a unicorn infestation in her school hallway (which is scarier than you would think!), Bobbie has to go through a portal in her locker to the Bermuda Triangle, because she is the only person who can save the day. Grumpus, who is in charge of the portal, needs to speak to her. Of course, there are a lot of things going on, from the bounty hunter trying to nab just about everyone to Uncle Dale having a crush on the bounty hunter. It feels wrong to Bobbie, and when Grumpus tries to kidnap her and Cole throws himself in her place, she knows she needs to figure out what. Imaginary creatures are crossing into our world more and more frequently, causing all sorts of problems, and Bobbie has to try to stop this from happening, with the help of some kick-butt, militaristic merwomen. She also has to learn to use her fear instead of letting it control her, since this skill will help both with defeating Trans-Dimensional beings and with dealing with the embarrassment inherent to middle school existence.
Strengths: This is what my students who enjoy Notebook Novels really want-- simple, funny stories that are fast-paced and amusing. Fry's illustrations are silly just by themselves, but there are lots of hysterical turns of phrase, like the one describing Loraine, which also is a pretty accurate description of my teaching style: "all the confidence and poise of an exploding can of Cheez Whiz". (Think that one through. Just think it through.) Bobbie's difficulties with trying to fly under the radar and not be considered weird definitely loom large in many middle school minds, and Loraine's instructions on how to embrace her fears are actually solidly philosophical and useful. Fun book.
Weaknesses: With it's Christmas theme, The Naughty List doesn't get checked out as much as it should, so I'll have to sell this a bit more. Also, I suspect paper over board bindings.
What I really think: This isn't great, world changing Literature, but it was a pleasant diversion that made me laugh, and some days that's something that we all need! Definitely purchasing.

No comments:

Post a Comment