Can learning scientific principles be fun? Will you laugh out loud learning how gravity works? You will if you read the new children’s Graphic Novel Monster Science series! In Zombies and Forces and Motion unlucky zombies stagger around demonstrating inertia, force and motion in a way that will entertain and teach at the same time. Or perhaps you want to learn about Aliens and Energy, or Bigfoot and Adaptation, or Vampires and Cells or Werewolves and States of Matter. Potential energy is a spaceship stuck high in a tree, whereas if it crashes to the ground its stored energy will be released in a spectacular way. Watch as Bigfoot demonstrates migration, as he is airlifted to Mexico by hordes of monarch butterflies, or adapts to polar life by sewing a penguin skin coat. And we all know that vampires are the world experts on all things bloody. This is a series to be enjoyed by kids and parents together, if you can stop laughing long enough!
Zita the Spacegirl is a fun and whimsical science fiction graphic novel about a young girl’s adventure to save her friend after he has been transported to a distant world. The book will appeal equally to boys and girls and encourages creativity and friendship.
Ben Hatke’s illustrations mix a blend of traditional and digital media. He sets distinct, atmospheric colour palettes for earth (vibrant blues and greens) and the planet where she is stranded (muted greys, blues, and browns). These flat, digitally coloured palettes are particularly effective as they contrast the naturalness of Zita’s home with the dystopic rubble of her new planet. They also allow for Zita, in her blindingly white space suit and green cape, and her oddball cast of new friends to be the most salient objects on the page. Paired with clever panel divisions, Hatke’s loose, yet dynamic inked outlines provide fast-paced movement to the work.
Hatke’s spunky heroine and manga-esque style call to mind Hayao Miyazaki’s charming Studio Ghibli films My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Spirited Away, which were also about brave, daring and thoughtful young girls. Zita the Spacegirl is recommended for adventurous boys and girls over the age of eight.
French artist Nicolas Debon lusciously captures the spirit of Emily Carr and her love of nature in Four Pictures by Emily Carr. Part information book and part graphic novel, Debon cleverly tells the story of Carr’s life through four of her paintings: “Cedar House,” “Autumn in France,” “Silhouette,” and “Beloved of the Sky.”
Well researched and poignant, Debon’s illustrations manage to copy the colour palettes and rugged shapes of Carr’s work while still embracing his own cartoon style. All the line art in the book, from the outlines to the formal framed panels, has jagged edges rather than crisp clear lines. This adds a rustic sense of timelessness to the book and draws upon Carr’s own abstract style. Although the characters have simple, round faces, Debon conveys a great range of emotions by subtly adjusting eyebrows or adding blush to cheeks. Debon also does an exquisite job of slowly and gracefully aging the character of Carr. Although she is older, she still has a sense of liveliness through the joyful expressions he gives her. These aspects make this book a true work of art.
This book is gorgeous and beautifully mixes abstract art with cartoons. Even though the book is recommended for children over the age of eight and features a simple text, this masterful work can be enjoyed by Canadian art fans of all ages. Carr would surely approve of the inventiveness and playfulness of this work.
In Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the titular character is mistaken for the White Rabbit’s housemaid Mary Ann. Tommy Kovac’s very clever Wonderland seeks to answer the question: Just who was Mary Ann?
Although this graphic novel was published by Disney Press, illustrator Sonny Liew depicts Wonderland in a refreshingly new way. Where the Disney Alice’s new found world is filled with black backgrounds and pops of psychedelic florescent colours, Mary Ann’s Wonderland has soft, muted landscapes with accents of pink, purple, and red. Liew’s style is as quirky as the tale and one of the best features of the work is the different speech bubbles used for each character. Where the more grounded, level headed characters like Mary Ann and the White Rabbit have traditional speech bubbles, the enigmatic Cheshire Cat’s speech bubbles are transparent, evoking his ability to disappear and cause trouble. Children who are fans of the Disney film will enjoy seeing new sides to the classic characters, while being introduced to new friends from Wonderland.
This enjoyable book is recommended for late elementary school and early middle school students. It promotes understanding, friendship, and bravery. Lewis Carroll would certainly approve of Kovac and Liew’s eccentric text and illustrations.
Night Wing and the rest of the heroes try to protect Gotham while it falls and all the villains get freed. Someone pretending to be Batman is going around killing people with guns and grenades. Night Wing and Robin (Damian Wayne and Tim Drake) know that it’s not the real Batman, because he is stuck in time and also Batman does not kill. What I like most is that the whole story is about Night Wing, my favorite character.