EMG Graphic Novels Round-Up 2

Investigators: Braver and Boulder
By John Patrick Green
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Content: It is very silly and includes a lot of punny jokes. It’s in the Beginning Chapter Book (grades 1-2) section of the bookstore, but I’m sure older kids love these too.

I’ve seen these in the bookstore, and they have been flying off the shelves, almost as fast as Dog Man (which I think is the best comparison). I assume there was something to these, a reason why the kids really liked them, so I was more than hapy to read one. It’s the fifth in the series, but you don’t really have to read them all to get the gist of the story. It’s full of silly puns (like a lie-berry which is a website that has facts about anything but also throws some lies in there to keep you on your toes) or acronyms (like S.U.I.T.S. – Special Uncdercver Investigation Teams). It’s not terribly high stakes, but it’s not low ones either, and the result is a slight mystery and a book about foriving and remembering those who have gone on. Too silly for my taste, but it wasn’t bad.

By Kelly Fernández
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Content: There are demons and magic, which will disturb some people (here, at least). It’s in the Middle Grade Graphic Novels section of the bookstore.

Manu lives at a magical boarding school for girls. She has a best friend, Josefina, but she also gets in trouble a lot. One day, a prank of hers goes wrong and Josefina gets mad and wishes that Manu’s magic – which is exceptionally strong – would just go away. It does, and then when Manu does another (forbidden) spell to get it back, everything goes sideways (like opening up the gates of hell and letting demons free, sideways). And of course, since Manu made the mess, she needs to clean it up!

I liked the combination of Church (the school is run by nuns) and magic here. I liked the friendship between the girls, and how Manu’s independence and challenges to authority aren’t necessarily seen as bad things. She’s a free spirit, and even though she knows magic is supposed to help people, she also wants to use it for fun. And the final message – that loving someone for who they are instead of for who they should be – is a good one.

Qute enjoyable.

Wait Till Helen Comes
by Mary Downing Hahn, adapted by Scott Peterson, Meredith Laxton, and Russ Badgett
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Content: It’s a ghost story and there are some pretty scary parts. It’s in the Middle Grade Graphic Novel section of the bookstore.

Molly and Michael’s mother has gotten remarried, and their stepfather’s daughter, Heather, has done nothing but cause trouble. She constantly acts up, and then blames it on Molly and Michael when she is confronted. Things only get worse when they move out to the country and into a restored church with a graveyard nearby. Heather starts talking about her “friend”, Helen, and acting out even more. Molly is convinced that Heather is possessed by a ghost, one that has malicious intent toward Heather, but the problem is that her brother and parents don’t believe her, and Heather keeps lying anytime Molly tries to bring it up. As tensions mount, Molly does everything she can to keep Heather safe, but everything – including the ghost – is working against her.

Honestly? Let the little brat Heather die.

Okay, that was harsh. Still, I could NOT stand her. I wanted to shake her and smack her parents for taking her side over the older kids. What kind of sexism is it that the parents side with the kid of the husband (oh, she has a tragic backstory, blah blah) and not the ones of the wife? The whole family needs therapy, and moving to the country and letting your kids run amok in the forest is NOT the right way to do things. I just couldn’t get out of my parent brain and ended up being super judgy about this one. The art is fine, but the story needs help. I do know kids love her, and she’s a good teller of age-appropriate scary tales. But seriously. let the brat get what’s coming to her.


Scout is Not a Band Kid
By Jade Armstrong
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Content: There is some bullying by so-called friends. it’s in the Middle Grade Graphic Novel section of the bookstore.

Scout is a big fan of author Pristing Wong, and would do anything to meet her at the upcoming fan convention. The problem is th it’s in another city, and her dad doesn’t have the time or money to take her. So, when she learns that the band festival is in this city at the festival (don’t ask why; I don’t know), she decides to join band, playing troubmbone. (She’s in 8th grade!). She doesn’t take it seriously, skipping class and practice (not the same thing?) to sluff off with her friends (who are super judgy of both Socut’s fandom and her involvment in band). Eventually, the other trombonist gets upset and is forced by the teacher to start tutoring Scout. They develop a bit of a friendship, and Scout managed to improve her playing. They bond over their shared fangirlyness over Pristine Wong. But will things change when they get to the festival, and the band is scheduled to play at the same time as the meet and greet?

Aside from the obvious problems I had with the band part (no one starts band in 8th grade. You can leave it, but you can’t start then!), it wasn’t a bad story. I really had no patience for Scout’s choice of friends, but she had a growth arc, and that made it tolerable. It wasn’t anything special, but it wasn’t terrible either.

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