Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Drama: A Review by Mariah

This review of Raina Telgemeier’s DRAMA is by Mariah, age 7.

This book came in my dad’s mail and on the first day he got it I was all over it.  I read it all the first day and then a little after I was finished it I read again.  I even brought it to the dentist to read in the waiting room.  Dad didn’t even get to read it.  I am reading it again now.  I am at page 95 (it has 233 pages).

In DRAMA Callie wants to be in the school play, but she can’t because she is not a very good singer.  Instead she joins the stage crew and makes sets.  There is also trouble with some boys she likes.
I wanted to take a look at it when dad first got it because the title and the cover looked very interesting.  The coloured in pages of the book made me think it was an interesting book.  Then the colour stopped and turned to black, grey and white, but that made me think it was even more interesting.  I thought it was going to be a colour, no-colour, colour, no-colour book, but dad says that the colour stopped because we have a review copy, not a store copy.  You can get the full-colour book in September 2012.

Mariah buying her own copy at Chapters.
Drama is a really cool book.  I don’t have a favourite part because every part is my favourite.  I like it when Callie and her friends, Justin and Jessie go to a bookstore.  They get out a book about an old play and on the next page they are actually in the book.  It’s cool because I thought they were just looking at it but then their imagination made them go in the book.  Later in the bookstore Justin and Jessie give Callie bubble tea and when she drinks it she says it is “bizarre.”   I also like the details of Raina Telgemeier’s art.

I think this book would be good for kids aged 10 and up, but I’m only 7.  There is a little kissing and some boyfriend stuff.  The prom part is not too bad, but with the kissing, I’m not too sure. 
Dad says that the publisher, Scholastic, recommends the book for  ages 10-14 or grades 5-9.  I think adults might want to look at it too.

You can watch a video of the book HERE.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Trip To the Bottom Of the World With Mouse: A Toon Book Review

I haven’t put anything up here for a while, even though the pile of stuff I should be writing about is growing taller all the time, so I thought I should pick one of the best off the pile and let you know about it.

Toon Books have consistently been publishing accessible and age appropriate comics for young readers for a few years.  They are a quality classroom and bedtime alternative to comic sets put out by education publishers.  Those sets have been fine, capitalizing on the current acceptance of comics as classroom reading material, but to me they always read like comics put out by publishers capitalizing on the current acceptance of comics as classroom reading material.  Toon Books read like great story books with word balloons and sequential storytelling sensibilities.  I have not liked all of the books put out by this publisher, but overall they have been quite good – and the couple I didn’t like my kids did (so what do I know).

A Trip To the Bottom Of the World With Mouse, by Frank Viva is one of the newest of the Toon Books and my kids and I think it is one of the best looking.  One of my daughter’s favourite picture books is the beautiful The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau and it was the first thing we both thought of when we saw A Trip To the Bottom Of the World.  If you have never checked out the Jacques Cousteau book, trust me, this is high praise.

This book is for grade 1-2 level readers but it would make a good bedtime story for anyone younger as well.  The vocabulary in the book is repetitive (in a good way) and it has harder words bunched by theme  (four things that can be worn in the cold: boots, mittens, a hat and a scarf).  The Toon Books website lists it at Guided Reading level E and Lexile Level BR.

Frank Viva’s artwork here is fantastic.  The Antarctic night, the animals, the cold – all brought to life in a cartoony storybook way.  It is wonderful stuff.

All Toon Books are durable,  and well put together.  A Trip To the Bottom Of the World With Mouse is a well-crafted book that would be a good addition to any bookshelf.

Review by: Scott Tingley

RELEASE DATE: September 25, 2012
32 pages, 9” x 6”, hardcover, U.S. $12.95/ $15.00 CAN

ISBN-13 978-1-935179-19-1
ISBN-10 1-935179-19-5

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