Saturday, August 24, 2019

Cartoon Saturday- Dear Justice League

Northrop, Michael and Duarte, Gustavo (illus.). Dear Justice League.
August 6th 2019 by DC Zoom
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

In this short, middle grade graphic novel, DC superheroes from the Justice League answer e mails from young fans. Superman is asked if he ever makes mistakes, and a story unfolds with one of his rescues taking multiple wrong turns. Aquaman gets an inquiry about whether he smells like fish, leading to some super hero introspection. Wonder Woman recounts her busy life after being invited to a young admirer's birthday party, and then decides to attend. The Green Lantern thinks about his costuming after being questioned by a young fashionista, and Batman counsels a young writer about being new in town.

The super heroes' backstories unfold with lots of pictures and few words, but it is clear that they struggle just as much as their fans, although in somewhat different ways. I love the administrative side of being a superhero, and the fact that answering e mails is a chore even for the likes of Wonder Woman! There is a good mix of silly antics and introspection that is not a surprise coming from a great middle grade author like Northrop.

The illustrations are done in full color, and this reminded me of the comic books we used to purchase at gas stations on long car trips, although the small size makes this easier to carry in backpacks.

Young readers who are fans of DC comics, or adults who WANT young readers to be fans, will find this an excellent way to introduce the canon of characters in the Justice League and entice readers to look into the comic books. This is a must have for readers who enjoyed Yee's DC Super Hero Girls Adventure Collection, Fridolfs and Nguyen's DC Comics: Secret Hero Society and Pearson and Gonzalez's Super Sons: The Polarshield Project.

Yardi, Robin. Owl's Outstanding Doughnuts
September 3rd 2019 by Carolrhoda Books (R)
E ARC provided by

Mattie has moved to Big Sur to live with her aunt following the death of her mother. Her aunt runs a small doughnut shop, and the two live in a trailer behind the shop. It's been a difficult transition, but Mattie has made two friends, Sasha and her younger sister, Beanie, whose family run a small campground and general store. A short while before school is to start, an owl taps of Mattie's window in the middle of the night. Going outside to investigate, Mattie sees two figures with a white van dumping something into a river. She lets her friends know, and they start an investigation. When Mattie points out that Sasha's father's van is very similar, Beanie enthusiastically puts him on the lists of subjects, but Sasha is angry and won't talk to Mattie. When the owl drops some sludge right in front of Mattie, she searches and finds more of the "gloop", and knows something is very wrong. With Sasha angry at her, Mattie tries to get more help from the owl to figure out what is going on.
Strengths: I am a big fan of stories that involve environmental issues, and the Big Sur setting adds a lot of color to this one. Any book involving doughnut, pie, or ice cream shops is good as well. The friend drama between Mattie and Sasha is very realistic. It's nice to see that Mattie has the support of a beloved aunt when dealing with the death of her mother. The investigation of the dumping moves the story along quickly, although I have to say that my favorite part was the description of the doughnuts at the beginning of each chapter!
Weaknesses: I wasn't thrilled with the chapters narrated by Alfred, the owl, but when Mattie climbs up to his nest and communicates with him by asking questions and having him blink, this really made it seem less realistic. I think younger children might enjoy this more.
What I really think: There were a lot of things I liked about this one, but I don't think my students want this sort of mystery. They are quite a bloodthirsty lot, and want more murder mysteries!
Ms. Yingling

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