booksinckids's blog

PEANUT by Ayun Halliday and Paul Hoppe

If you have readers who are looking for more graphic novels like Raina Telgemeier's SMILE and DRAMA, then PEANUT is a perfect choice. Set in high school, but can be read by 12-13 year-olds as well- just be advised there are a few sexual conversations that take place. This realistic graphic novel focuses on Sadie and her doomed quest to become popular by faking a peanut allergy. Everyone can relate to the feeling of starting in a new place and hoping to become a new person too, cooler and smarter and without any former hang-ups. Sadie is no different. But she actually tries to make it work, by faking an extreme peanut allergy. She even orders a special ID bracelet and makes a point of telling everyone at her new school. It works, at first, and she even meets a super cute guy who has his own way of standing out-he doesn't have a cell phone! Sadie starts to settle into her new world, but her lies get harder to keep up with, and when she causes a major event at school because everyone thinks she ate a peanut, everything finally comes spilling out and Sadie has to start all over, but this time she can't hide her past from anyone. Sweet and relatable, Ayun Halliday's text is authentic and engaging. Ultimately, like many graphic novels, this one feels rather slight, but girls will still gobble up this story of a girl just like them. Paul Hoppe's spot-on illustrations are rendered in grey-blue with pops of hot pink on Sadie's outfit. With dynamic panels and tons of teenage expressiveness, each character comes to life as a unique and memorable friend. Here's hoping we'll be seeing more strong graphic novels like this for middle grade readers!

--Reviewed by Julie of Books Inc. Laurel Village

The High-Skies Adventures of Blue Jay the Pirate by Scott Nash

Talking birds with hats! Air pirates! Sword fights!

This very handsome hardcover edition with engaging ink and watercolor illustrations by the author will make a fine gift for a backyard naturalist who loves stories of swashbuckling derring-do. Comparable to Brian Jaques' Redwall series with language accessible for a 9 year old, or strong 8. The coming-of-age/ bird-out-of-the-nest aspects of the story will appeal to older kids and the whole family will enjoy the high adventure. There is a clever balance between imaginative, unique world-building and accurate ornithological details. As an lifelong scholar of fantasy literature and an avid birdwatcher, this book seemed especially written for me, but I hope other readers will share my appreciation of this cunning blend of Roger Tory Petersen and Robert Louis Stevenson.

--Reviewed by Chris of Compass Books in SFO

The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald

Adenville, Utah, it's 1896 and that great state has just joined the Union. Nestled in a small town is a genius of cunning and style. Known to the unsuspecting adults of the town as plain, old Tom. He is feared and respected by the children as, "the Great Brain." Tom is a con-man par excellence. If there is a deal to be done and a penny to be made, Tom will do it. His tale is told by his hapless middle brother.

This often overlooked old friend from 1969 is perfect for 3rd to 6th grade readers. Especially those boys who don't care for fantasy.

--Reviewed by Elizabeth of Books Inc. Alameda

Imogen: The Mother of Modernism and Three Boys by Amy Novesky

Ms. Novesky gives us another picturebook biography of a fascinating female artist (Georgia in Hawaii; Me, Frida)...this time celebrating photographer Imogen Cunningham who spent much of her life in San Francisco. A lovely introduction to a ground-breaking talent. Will be a good addition to any Women's History Month reading list in March.

--Reviewed by Summer of Books Inc. Laurel Village

Syndicate content