Tag Archives: graphic novels

Addie, Age 6, Reviews Fairy Tale Comics, from First Second, Edited by Chris Duffy

Fairytale ComicsMy six-year-old and I have been loving a newly published graphic novel that we found at our local library. It’s called Fairy Tale Comics and includes adapated and fractured fairy tales and illustrations by quite a few amazing cartoonists and edited by the great Chris Duffy. After my introduction and a synopsis and cover of the the book, Addie gives her debut review on Oh, for the Hook of a Book! She is so excited it’s THIS book! Keep reading to see her opinions, which she rattled to me like a professional while I typed like a secretary. ūüôā That’s below….with her photos with the book….but first…my own thoughts….

My daughter soaked up¬†this¬†graphic novel anthology.¬†I often found her carrying it around and reading it after school, gushing over the art and the stories. Finally, I¬†decided to take¬†a few nights to sit down with her and let her read me a few a night until we finished it. We actually took just two nights, as neither of us wanted to stop reading the stories! For six, she has a higher level of reading in comparison to her peers, but it was still great reading practice too.¬† The stories were simple, but the vocabulary average for educated readers.¬† I was astounded by the drawings and the selection of fairy tales that weren’t just only Grimm or Perrault adaptations, but some old world stories from other countries as well. I really liked Baba Yaga and Rumplestilzkin in this anthology.¬† We absolutely adored this shelf worthy, beautiful book. Addie and I certainly made memories reading it together. It would make a lovely gift for children, but also adults who are fairy tale fans!

Fairy Tale Comics, Synopsis~

From favorites like “Puss in Boots” and “Goldilocks” to obscure gems like “The Boy Who Drew Cats,” Fairy Tale Comics has something to offer every reader. Seventeen fairy tales are wonderfully adapted and illustrated in comics format by seventeen different cartoonists, including Raina Telgemeier, Brett Helquist, Cherise Harper, and more.
Edited by Nursery Rhyme Comics’ Chris Duffy, this jacketed hardcover is a beautiful gift and an instant classic.

Addie, Age 6, Review~

Camera Phone Snap Before Bed!

I pretty much liked them all, but some favorites were The 12 Dancing Princesses, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Rumplestiltzkin, Rapunzel, and Baba Yaga (Mommy‚Äôs favorite, which I didn‚Äôt want to read at first because I didn’t know it, but then loved it!).¬† I thought the story Rabbit Will Not Help was a little naughty in how they spoke though.

I liked how they were all a little different. I liked the cartoon drawings, many were cute and caught my attention.  I kinda liked how the cartoon drawings gave me a different picture of the story as from what I’ve read before. For example, in Snow White some of the costumes almost looked alien. Mommy told me that different artists drew them so I could understand why the art was all alike.

I also liked reading the various tales from other countries like Japan or Russia, some I’d never read or heard of before. I like reading things from other countries.

I’d love a copy of this book to keep on my shelf and I bet other kids would too. It was fun reading and made me want to pick it up each night to read. I would read it over and over.

2013-11-30 21.15.50
Fairy Tale Comics, Details~
Fairytale ComicsAge Range: 6 – 12 years
Grade Level: 1 – 7
Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: First Second (September 24, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1596438231
ISBN-13: 978-1596438231

Chris Duffy, Editor, Biography~

chris duffyChris Duffy is a writer and comics editor. He worked as Senior Comics Editor at the award-winning Nickelodeon Magazine for 13 years and currently edits SpongeBob Comics for United Plankton Pictures, as well as other projects.

Chris was part of the board of advisors for Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly’s TOON TREASURY OF CLASSIC CHILDREN’S COMICS. His comic book writing includes scripts for BIZARRO COMICS, BIZARRO WORLD, SUPERMAN ADVENTURES, SCOOBY-DOO, WHAT IF?, RUGRATS COMIC ADVENTURES, and BATMAN CHRONICLES.

He wrote comics strips for FAMILY DOG MAGAZINE. Comics that he has written and drawn have appeared in several anthologies, including AWESOME, AWESOMER, and DRAGONS! He lives with his family in Cold Spring, New York.

Included Cartoonists in Fairy Tale Comics~

Bobby London, Emily Carroll, Gilbert Hernandez, Vanessa Davis, Gigi D.G., Ramona Fradon, Jaime Hernandez, Luke Pearson, Brett Helquist, Joseph Lambert, Raina Telgemeier, Charise Mericle Harper, Graham Annable, Jillian Tamaki, Karl Kerschl, David Mazzucchelli, and Craig Thompson.

See more about the graphic novel at:  http://us.macmillan.com/fairytalecomics/VariousAuthors

Addison Busbey, Reviewer, Biography~


Photo by Erin Al-Mehairi

Addison Busbey is a sweet six year old of the intelligent variety. She loves to explore books and relishes her trips to the library and any bookstores where she ‚Äúoohhhs and ahhhhhs‚ÄĚ over covers and content.She loves red and pink and has a penchant for watching anything involving cute animals or princesses. Yet, her current favorite shows are all in the Power Ranger television dynasty. With mommy, she looks forward to watching Scooby-Doo each Saturday morning.¬† She has quite the wide variety of interests.She enjoys playing softball, soccer, jumping rope, creating art, and baking cupcakes. She has an extreme love affair with shows like DC Cupcakes, Cake Boss, and Cupcake Wars and is constantly inventing new cupcakes for us to bake. She likes to sing and listen to all kinds of music while dancing till she collapses.

She loves graphic novels and quite frequently chooses them, yet also reads chapter books and has a high reading level for her age. She enjoys the art in picture books and comics, yet also likes to get lost in the story of a book or learn something new from a non-fiction read. She really enjoys school quite a bit and is always rushing home to tell Mommy all about it.

She is a fashion queen who dreams of being a fashion designer in Paris, with her own cupcake store around the corner and perform part-time as a pop star. She wants to have a pet squirrel and will most certainly put a pink bow on its tail and make it wear sparkly heels all while having it wear a superhero outfit!

Addison loves all types of books and you can reach her to review your book by emailing her Mommy at hookofabook(at)hotmail(dot)com.


Filed under Book Reviews

Road Tripping for National Comic Book Day 2013 and Meeting Green Lantern’s Former Artist!

Another annual National Comic Book Day today (May 4, 2013) descended upon us with a glorious cloak of comic titles that most comic book stores around the country passed out, first-come first-served, to comic book fans and patrons of all ages!

Almost everyone in our house is some sort of comic or graphic novel fan. Tim was previously a huge collector, and now he’s still an avid reader (and is a wealth of factual comic trivia) and me…well, I’ve always loved how a comic in print captured my visual senses with the vibrant and beautiful art and action-packed emotional stories.

With all the superhero and comic-based movies coming out over the last few years, most people at least are enjoying superheroes…but there are so many other great comics to enjoy out there now, no matter what age you are. My son mostly enjoys the movies, but my daughters (age 9 and 5) love our almost annual treks to a random comic store (where we generally pull out the google search in lieu of map, point, and search….then embark on a laughable twist and turn, stop and back up, ¬†scenario down side streets until we find the store, which generally is tucked back away in the not so common areas of town, decide if it’s safe for kids, and then scout it out).

This year we found¬†a rather nice store in Canton called Bill’s Books and More. He had lots of comics, great sales, and even had a comic book illustrator on-hand signing autographs (more on that below!).


Tim and the kids at Bill’s Books and More

Once there the girls¬†love getting to pick out their free comics.¬† Our middle daughter likes a wide variety, as she picked out Hulk today, Smurfs (did you know it started out as a comic in Belgium before coming to the US through Hanna Barbara?), and Superman! Our five-year-old also chose Smurfs, Disney’s Tinkerbell, and Batman (her fave guy). She enjoyed reading Tinkerbell all the way home at which point she declared “Whew! Can you believe I read that whole comic already? It was awesome.” This is the first year she has been able to read them to herself!. I’m a proud mom that she’s reading and enjoying comics.

Addie reading comic

Seriously worn out, but intent on her comic.

I have to admit that Tim and I enjoy choosing some titles too. We might not be looking as die-hard collectors, but just enjoy the experience. Tim got a Walking Dead title they distributed for the day and Marvel’s Infinity,¬†and I got Dynamite’s Damsels Mermaids ( a new original story) because simply…I like Mermaid stories. Mermaid #1 will be in stores next week.

Also, I had read for review the comic for children called Mouse Guard with Addie last week. They had a Free Comic Book Day title of Mouse Guard, a Flip Book that also featured Rust, Jim’s Henson’s Labryrinth¬†story, and another short. The art and type in this comic is just right for little people and extremely well-done. I love the bigger font with fewer words so they can read on their own. Mouse Guard¬†reads like a picture book. The art is adorable in them all. This compilation¬†is¬†from Archaia Entertainment.


Our stash of free comics from the day…

Then, there was the¬†excitement¬†of getting to meet longtime comic book artist of the Green Lantern series, Darryl Banks, and having him sign a comic for us! He lives in Columbus and works as a freelance illustrator and commercial artist¬†now, but I’ve read he still loves comics the best. He is best known for working on the Green Lantern Vol. 3 for a seven-year stint, but he also created costumes, characters, and conceptualized. If you want to see more of his amazing art you can go here: http://www.comicartfans.com/gallerydetail.asp?gcat=11377.

Darryl was so very nice to the kids. Soft-spoken and kind, when Emma asked him, “How did you start to become an artist?” he smiled and told her he’d been drawing ever since he was even smaller than she. He told her to keep at it and not to stop pursuing her dreams. My daughter was beaming after this meeting. Thank you very much, Darryl for encouraging her!

Darryl Banks

Darryl Banks, with¬†my kids, at Bill’s Books and More

For me, nothing has even beaten the feel of a glossy comic with all this splendid art igniting my senses and now nothing beats watching my girls sitting back, comic in both hands up to face, legs crossed, and deep intent on reading.

Thank you to Bill’s Books and More, Darryl Banks, and everyone nationwide who is responsible for bringing us National Comic Book Day!! It’s a great way to promote literacy and art!

Addie with bag

National Comic Book Day Link for 2013: http://www.freecomicbookday.com/Home/1/1/27/981
Bill’s Books and More, Canton, OH:¬† http://billsbooksandmore.com/blog/


See last year’s National Comic Book Day 2012¬†Guest Post by author Hunter Shea by clicking HERE!

See my post on how graphic novels help kids read by clicking HERE!


Filed under Feature Articles

Graphic Novel Trend Spectacular for Abundance of Reasons!

Lately,¬†I’ve interviewed several authors that mentioned comics as a source for their childhood (and probably adult, too) reading pleasure and creativity.¬†Quite coincidentally, I also read that¬†comics are a great resource for parents who struggle with reluctant readers. Then, when a recent trip to the library and a graphic novel display, as well as my youngest daughter’s obsession with having graphic novels read to her, really got me thinking, I decided to put a post together. I can’t believe what books for children are available now as graphic novels. Not only are children¬†investing in words by reading graphic novels, but they are also enjoying visual art and¬†adventure right at their fingertips!

As a kid, I loved buying comics. Yeah, I know, I’m a girrrrl…but hey, we can love comics and graphic novels too!¬† And I wasn’t a dork (as far as I say), so yeah, I’m not ashamed to declare that girls who love make-up and red lipstick can still love comics (I hear my fiance yelling, right on girl….)!

 Flashback to Archie and My Childhood

Back when I was a kid we picked up Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica….those little magazine-sized comics at the grocery store. They’ve been¬†around since the 1950s or so, but I wasn’t around till 1974 so I only remember reading in the 80s.¬† Of course, they still make the Archie comics, and many other media arose from Archie over the years, but personally I remember my child-like eyes being big on the racks by the check-out and my mom always buying me one for the ride home. However, my kids certainly aren’t bringing me an Archie mag and a block of Bazooka gum (which was hard as a¬†rock, BTW!!). It was fun then, but for our kids times have changed.

Getting my Marvel Fix

As an older teen, I became even more bold and couldn’t wait to get to the comic store (then on almost any side street) and pick-up my next issues of The Amazing Spiderman and, my favorite of the early 90’s, Spawn. Then X-Men, Avengers, Thor (oh, little Marvel heavy, sorry)…who could go wrong with all that luscious colorized art that oozed with visual goodness and exciting reading.

What Happened to Comics?

With a busy career and getting even¬†busier as a mom, my comic reading went out the window, as well as purchasing. And I guess I wasn’t the only one, as in the last decade comic sales have plummeted. At $5 a pop for a few pages, it just wasn’t feasible for most people anymore to go every week and buy a whole stack, and with too many favorites, it became even harder to choose! Die-hard collectors still bought, but now most kids are enticed by a million other things put out every day in this electronic world.

The Graphic Novel On the Rise

Graphic novels, on the other hand, are entirely different. Sales of these in most beloved comic lines like Spiderman, X-Men, Superman and so forth increased. I think people feel they get more for their money. In a 2011 article by Comics Alliance (www.comicsalliance.com), they stated that graphic novel sales are up 3% for the year, though sales in comic shops are down.¬† This was due to the growth of graphic novels in bookstores, which is a great sign for the comic industry. Sales of periodical¬†single issues¬†fell 8%, in comparison, and Manga 15 to 20%.¬† However, digital comic sales have doubled since 2010. So maybe it is the comic store that is dead and not really the comic industry? Let’s hope.

So, Why Are Graphic Novels Great For Your Children?

Now on to my main point of this blog, comics and graphic novels are great for kids. And graphic novels seems to be on the rise.  Boys and girls between the ages 9-12 are most suited for graphic novels and they are a great resource for parents who have reluctant or struggling readers. Instead of hundreds of pages full of just words, suddenly there are amazing visuals with words to go with them. The writing and vocabulary are still on par, and even advanced, yet the child is more excited to read and propelled by the art.

Manga, which is Japanese for comics and are Japanese in origin, are wonderful also as the vocabulary is on a high-level for an advanced reader, or are able to challenge average readers in an environment that is more conducive to their learning. Because they are graphic, they are more quickly understood and absorbed as kids are naturally visual learners.

With some of the graphic novels or comic compilations, they can also offer smaller doses of reading if that is easier for the attention span of a child.¬† There is a ton of action on¬†each page for them to look at, while the writing is still superb. I even found that my 4-year-old¬†daughter is very into graphic novels. We started with some Scooby-Doo graphic novel compilations. There is one main comic short¬†that it’s titled from, but there are usually¬†two to¬†three comic stories in the book. We can read one at a time, or all three if she is feeling more focused. She loves looking at the pictures as I read the story.

Recently at the library, we have been picking up more graphic novels and I am amazed at how many chapter books (those books familiar to my seven-year old) have been turned into a graphic novel or have a graphic novel spin-off! What a great way to entice reluctant readers to read an actual chapter book. If they enjoy the comic version first, maybe they will try the other books. If they enjoy books, they might compliment by enjoying the graphic version and be entertained by the art. It is a win-win both ways.

We just found a series of Geronimo Stilton graphic novels (Geronimo Stilton is a mouse with a fun children’s book series for 8 to 16 year olds). My four-year¬†old recognized the famous mouse from my seven-year old’s chapter book browsing and wanted to get the graphic novel Geronimo Stilton: The Secret of the Sphinx right away! She loved it. Now she can be part of the story through the photos and she is learning history too. There is great writing in these graphic novels that¬†is both¬†entertaining and educational.¬† However, I think it reads much better if you do funny voices and yell all the crazy sound effects. As a parent, let yourself go and get into reading the story.

We’ve seen graphic novels which also accompany popular Young Adult (YA) novels as well. For instance, The Amulet of Samarkand: A Bartimaeus Graphic Novel, which was adapted from Jonathan Stroud’s best-selling Bartimaeus series book one, The Amulet of Samarkand. I’m halfway through this one and loving the visuals. You can download the First Chapter on from the publisher’s website at http://disney.go.com/official-sites/bartimaeus-series/graphic-novel-amulet-of-samarkand-page-1.

Now even classics are being re-told in this format to get a kid’s brain to absorb these monumental novels that might otherwise be destined for Cliff Notes. For instance, you’ll find¬†Beowulf, The Iliad, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, and many more.¬† We even saw the famous French tale called The Little Prince adapted into an artistic graphic novel.

Even though we don’t have reluctant readers in our household and¬†are blessed with three avid readers just like we are, we’re loving the advantages of graphic novels to accompany our two older children’s reading list, as well as helping our youngest daughter to read.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on comics and graphic novels! Do you like this trend? What are your favorite comics of all time? Found any new graphic novels for kids you’d love to share? Please share your comments with everyone below.


Filed under Children and Family, New Books I've Found, Other blogs