Saturday, July 31, 2021

Cartoon Saturday- Animal Rescue Friends and Bad Nana

Loveless, Gina. Hashimoto, Meika, and Kote, Genevieve (Illustrations). 
Animal Rescue Friends 
June 15th 2021 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
Copy provided by the publisher

In true comic book fashion, this is a collection of five connected stories surrounding an animal shelter. When Madeline finds a dog in the park who is hungry and thirsty, she brings him home, but finds out from her mother that their landlord does not allow dogs. She has to take Boyd to Animal Rescue Friends, which is a busy place. She offers to help by volunteering. Since she used to live on a farm, she's not put off by the chores that are involved. She gets off to a rocks start with Bell, another volunteer, but helps Mikey when two boys threaten to let rabbits out of their cages during an adoption event. One of these boys, Noah, later finds a cat he thinks that he and his friend Jimmy might have injured, and turns out to have quite a way with the feral animal. When a woman shows up at an adoption event and claims to know Boyd, Madeleine has one last romp with her favorite resident before he returns home, but gets a pleasant surprise in the end. 
Strengths: Animal stories are always popular, and I'm always glad when a book raises awareness of rescue dogs. Madeline and her friends work hard at taking care of the animals, and set a good example for the evil Jimmy and his reluctant sidekick Noah. Ferrets, horses, and rabbits are also represented. Each story can be read individually, but they make a nice arc when placed together. The best part of the book was the information about how comics are made. Very helpful!  Epic! books has quite a number of paperback titles that would appeal to elementary aged readers, and is well worth a look if you work with children in that age group. The print versions of these titles, although paperback, are actually better bound than a lot of graphic novels by other publishers. 
Weaknesses: Jimmy was clearly a bad influence, and while he did give up his evil ways, there was no real reason behind his change of heart. 
What I really think: This is a great graphic novel for beginning or struggling readers, and has a very readable format, with large font, bright, clear pictures, and an easily understandable story line. 

Henn, Sophy. Older Not Wiser (Bad Nana #1)
May 31st 2018 by HarperCollins Children’s Books
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Jeanie is a big fan of her grandmother, in whose care she is often placed. She doesn't understand all of Nana's quirks (Why more sparkles? And does she really get her cat's fur dyed pink?), but she loves that her grandmother spends lots of time with her, and has an enthusiastic, and sometimes contrary, attitude. Jeanie isn't a huge fan of her younger brother, Jack, since he is annoying, and definitely doesn't like Georgina, who is stuck up and frequently bestows unflattering nicknames on Jeanie. Nana isn't a fan of Georgina's grandmother, either. After this brief introduction to our characters, we head off on two adventures; one to the local park, and one to a local history museum. Bad Nana isn't a fan of the new park keeper, who takes over their local park. Bad Nana has a favorite bench that she likes to occupy, and doesn't care for the new rules that preclude all fun. Wielding her "lippy", she crosses out all of the "NOT" parts of the signs so that the new instructions include Do Feed the Birds, Do Run, Do Sing, and Do Enjoy Yourself. The park keeper loses his temper, but Bad Nana thinks the park is more pleasant her way, and makes sure that all of the rubbish is picked up and binned properly. In the last story, Bad Nana is allowed to accompany Jeanie's school field trip after being kicked out of Jack's class for reading her murder mysteries to Jack's preschool class. The students aren't thrilled about the dusty, boring local history museum to which they have been before, and definitely do not enjoy being yelled at by the fractious caretaker. After a few mishaps, Bad Nana takes matters into her own hands and manages to amuse the students even though she gets into trouble. Jeanie comes to the conclusion that Bad Nana is "a little bit naughty and maybe even a tiny bit embarassing [but] mainly brilliant. 

This was a highly illustrated volume in two colors, similar to Gravel's Olga and the Smelly Thing From Nowhere, Smith's Claude, or Ahn's Pug Pals. The characters have greatly exaggerated features; Bad Nana's enormous eyeglasses and startling fashions are fun to look at. Like Geronimo Stilton, the text often is larger or in different fonts to emphasize certain words, which sometimes extend across the illustrations. 

This also had a very British vibe similar to Pichon's Tom Gates, although not nearly enough tea is drunk. Parks in the US (at least in the suburbs or rural areas) don't have as many fences and rules, and certainly don't have park keepers in little sheds, although that seems to be an outdated reference even in the UK. 

This would make a great choice for a grandparent to read with a grandchild while they make their own plans to travel around with a well-stocked hand bag wreaking havoc and irritating stuffy people around them.  

Sedita, Francesco. Seraydarian, Prescott and Hamaker, Steve (Illustrations)
The Curse of the Crystal Cavern (The Pathfinders Society #2) 
July 13th 2021 by Viking Books for Young Readers 
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Kyle has settled in to life at Windrose with the help of camp mates and friends Vic, Beth, Harry, and Nate. The Pathfinders Society has created more questions than it has solved, and they are involved in another mystery as the town prepares for its annual moon festival. They have found a hidden staircase that takes them deep underground, as well as a glowing metal object whose use they can't identify. Disregarding the dangers, they voyage under their mysterious town and face a number of dangers. This gives them more information about Jacob and Henry Merriweather, who owned the land and the house where their summer camp is, and about Jonas Fairly, who started the local quarry on some of this land, to the detriment of some of the mysteries of the town. They manage to uncover more underground landscape, only to find that it is being threatened. When we last see our friends, they are burrowed deeper in the mystery than ever. 

I loved the green, gray, and blue palette of this one, as it highlights the underground locations and also ties in nicely with the moon theme of Windrose. The friends are easy to tell apart (which is not always the case in graphic novels!) because the cast is nicely diverse. Graphic novels are a good format for fantasy topics, since they can more easily show things that don't really exist. The small, glowing gadget and it's matching, larger mechanism is particularly interestingly drawn. 

The back history of the Merriweathers is well developed, and the town seems to know some of this, while being unaware of more important parts that the children have to discover. They must work through clues (with the help of some adults, which is nice) to figure out what went on in the past and work through how this will impact the future. 

Readers who can't get enough paranormal action and adventure like Ying's City of Secrets, Bunn's The Ghoul Next Door, Cooke's Paranorthern, or Gardner's Long Distance will enjoy following the Pathfinders Society's adventures. This will also appeal to fans of the Netflix versions of Brailler's Last Kids on Earth or the television show Stranger Things

Ms. Yingling

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