Thursday, September 29, 2005

Serenity Rose

Ahhh the graphic novel. Lovely lovely. I have been a fan of graphic novels and comics since my last year of highschool when my friend Jeff took my to the comic shop and introduced me to The Question. I then moved on to Mr. X, Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children, Black Orchid, and lucky for me that was the year that Sandman arrived. I had to stop buying in university for a while, as the cash flow was thin. Then, as a grown up I got into more of the indy titles. Last year Blankets blew my mind.

I got Serenity Rose - Volume 1: Working Through the Negativity in the mail to review.

I wasn't sure what to make of it at first. I knew it was a gothy gn, but other than that I wasn't sure what to expect. I was a bit confused. The beginning is wordy. Quite wordy. I then got sucked in to the fun.

Serenity Rose is a witch. A reluctant one at that. Her reputation precedes her, and that has turned her into somewhat of a hermit. She is living in the secluded town of Crestfallen. She does have some friends. There is Tess, Kelton and Mary Ann.

We are slowly introduced to her story...including the unfortunate demise of her mother and father, her disdain for the "scene", as well as the "bus incident" and reasons for it.

This is a fun read, but buried within is a scathing social commentary. Politics, music, pop culture, sexuality and loyalty are all topics that are touched upon or explored.

The illustrations are a bit more "japanime" style than I tend to like. Serenity's nose makes her look a bit like a clown which is a problem for me. (Don't like those clowns!) The black and whiteness of it all really works for the story, but prepared to need lots of light while reading. Remember...lots of text! There are quite a few 80s references to bands that were quite fun (like "Joy Divisor"...wonder who that was!) and there is a great club scene with patrons numbered and their traits outlined along the page edges.

Overall this gn is very clever, cute and a bit spooky at the same time.

Akimbo and the Elephants

Reading the final push before my presentation. Akimbo and the Elephants was recommended to me as something for the youngest on my list. It's an environmental mystery...a genre that I have had some interest in in the past.

Akimbo lives with his father at the edge of a large game reservation in an unnamed African country. Akimbo had a love affair with the elephants more than any other animal.

"It was not the leopards, or even the lions, that Akimbo liked to watch. He loved the elephants best of all. You had to keep clear of them, too, but they seemed more gentle than many of the other creatures. Akimbo loved their vast, lumbering shapes. He loved the way that they moved their trunks slowly, this way and that as they plodded across the plains between the stretches of forest..." (p3-4)

So imagine Akimbo's horror when his father explained what poachers are, and tells him that there are poachers hunting on the reserve - killing elephants for their ivory. This hits home for Akimbo when he accompanies his father and coworkers deep into the reserve and he sees an elephant that has been killed for its' tusks.

Akimbo decides at that moment that he has to do something. He hatches a plan to catch the poachers in the act. It is dangerous and many things can go wrong, but Akimbo knows in his heart that he must act.

This is a fast paced mystery with a heart of gold. McCall Smith writes beautifully and the illustrations by LeUyen Pham enrich the story. This is perfect for the 3rd grade and up set who are so passionate about social justice.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 the meantime

I HAVE been reading. Honestly.

Currently I am working on The Big Over Easy, which is much fun so far. The problem is that my 2.5 year old has decided that she is too old to nap. Goodbye reading time.

I am still working on my tween title presentation, which should be ready in the next week or so. I am planning on posting the info about the titles that are not currently on this blog.

I am trying to get my paws on Peeps, by Westerfeld, and Penderwicks, the author's name escapes me right now. These are both supposed to be great (and very different) reads.

Stay tuned!!!

Monday, September 05, 2005


The second in the series by Westerfeld, Pretties starts right where Uglies left off. Tally is back and up to her old tricks. New Pretty Town is never quite the same when she is around. This time, as part of the Crims, Tally is looking for the ultimate rush. She can't understand why she keeps doing unpretty and not bubbly things. Maybe the hottie leader Zane can help her out?

Westerfeld has written the second in a trilogy and written it just as exciting as the first installment. In my reading experience, the second of trilogies tend to just bring the plot along...usually in a very "un-bubbly" way. But again, I was hooked. You don't get too much plot because of course this was an arc that I read. I can't wait to buy a copy for my neice!

...and now I am waiting and waiting for part 3! And I am just as excited about this one as I am about Barker's part 3 of the Abarat series.

Westerfeld is quickly becoming one of my favourite contemporary YA authors.