Real Friends

REVIEW: Real Friends by Shannon Hale

Summary


Shannon Hale shares stories of her elementary school years, mostly focused on school friendships in this graphic novel memoir. Girls’ friendships in those years can be fraught with cliques, and girls can get caught up in the ebb and flow of in-crowds and outcasts. Shannon shares experiences from both sides of that continuum. She also faced backlash at home from an older sister who was also struggling with social relationships and friend issues.

Review


This is a lovely graphic novel memoir along the lines of Raina Telgemeier’s Smile or Cece Bell’s El Deafo. If I was still teaching, I would want to have multiple copies of this one because my students would keep this in circulation all year.

For every Queen Bee clique leader in school, there are 3-10 girls who feel the rush of acceptance and the sting of being shunned that cycles in these circles. Even though Shannon’s story is anchored in the late 70s and early 80s pop culture (Charlie’s Angels, Wonder Woman, Michael Jackson, Chicago 17), the friend experiences – and some sibling experiences – span generations.

The art work is beautiful and will grab the attention of graphic novel fans. Also, the end notes explain some of the story factors – anxiety and minor OCD behaviors – as well as sharing a little of the “epilogue” that is Shannon’s life today.

This book can give readers a sense of hope and feeling of being understood. They will hopefully glean that they are not alone in the struggle. Perfect for school and home libraries.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Summer Olympus

REVIEW: Summer Olympus by Yancey Labat

Summary


It’s summer break at Super Hero High. Wonder Woman has been invited to Olympus by her father, Zeus, to spend time with the godly side of her family. She invites her friends to join her but most have plans. Super Girl, Big Barda and Lady Shiva are heading to the Kent’s farm in Kansas for the summer. Batgirl, Beast Boy and Katana are touring Europe. So Bumblebee is the only one who can go to Olympus with Wonder Woman. But one best friend is more than enough!

While there, the heroes meet Wonder Woman’s siblings including Ares, the god of war. Meanwhile, Super Girl and friends are tackling farm chores and the Europe gang is tracking a thief who is stealing Greek artifacts.

It all comes to a head in Olympus when the thief is revealed and the Olympians wage war on Metropolis – and on the kids from Super Hero High!

Review


Such a fun story! I love the graphic novel format which gives an image for all the DC characters. Some are less familiar to me than others, and I appreciate seeing what they look like. It’s especially helpful when I go back to the Lisa Yee middle grade books which aren’t illustrated (Katana, the latest in that series, is out this summer!).

At the core, this story is about identity. Wonder Woman is a demigod – half Olympian god, and half Amazon. Growing up an Amazon, she feels comfortable in Themyscira and knows who she is there. In Olympus, she feels less certain about how she fits in – or if she belongs there at all.

While it starts as just the BFFs, Wonder Woman and Bumblebee, the whole student body of Super Hero High gets into the act when the battle hits Metropolis. This is a fun story for fans of the property and and good introduction for those new to Super Hero High.

Thanks to the publisher, DC Comics, for an electronic review copy of Summer Olympus in exchange for an honest review!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Escape Claws

REVIEW: DC Super Hero Girls Graphic Novels by Shea Fontana

Summary


Graphic novels based on the DC Super Hero High story line (including novels by Lisa Yee).

In the first graphic novel, Finals Crisis, several of the girls are captured by a  mysterious figure right before their final exams. The only way they can escape and get to their exams on time will be to work together.  In the second story, Hits and Myths, the school English teacher goes missing and the Batplane is stolen. The kids will have to work together to solve both mysteries.

DC Super Hero High Graphic Novels

Review


These are fun stories for the young fans of DC heroes – and villains. The comics are fun, allowing each character to show his/her powers (It’s not just the girls, although they are the focus. Beast Boy and the Flash make appearances). I especially liked the first book because there was a “chapter” focus on each of the main girls. The mythology tie in for book 2 wasn’t as strong as I expected it to be. The theme of working together ran through both stories.

These books would be a great starting place for new fans who want to get to know the main characters (Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Katana, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, etc.) with a visual story.

These are also a great tie in with the middle grade novels, pictured below. I have really enjoyed the middle grade series. They give more depth to the characters introduced here in the graphic novels. But I find myself wishing for more pictures when I read the novels. These graphic novels meet that need.

Rating: ♥♥♥

  

Escape Claws

REVIEW: Razzle Dazzle Unicorn by Dana Simpson

Summary


Phoebe’s best friend is a unicorn named Marigold Heavenly Nostrils. Phoebe is a bit of an outcast at times. She has trouble with a mean girl named Dakota. She thinks her parents are weird. Through it all, Marigold is there to share secrets of magical creatures, extol the sparkly virtues of being a unicorn, and having Phoebe’s back every step of the way.

Graphic Novels for Kids - Phoebe and her Unicorn

Review


I adore this series! If you are looking for a fun graphic novel for kids, check this series out!  I always find some laugh-out-loud moments in each book, and this is no exception. Marigold is a hoot! There are panels that beg to be read out loud, especially when she declares “UNICORN” in a fancy-shmancy font for the answer to anything. Phoebe’s parents are sassy and fun. Great stories in this book with Max, Phoebe’s friend at school, and Sue, a friend at camp. This is a great book/series for fans of Babymouse, Big Nate, Bird & Squirrel, Binky the Space Cat or the Sunday comics.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Pictures for the other books in this series are below.

Phoebe and her Unicorn series