It's graphic novel week on the blog and I have loads of graphic novels to share! Today is a sneak peek of what's coming our way!
Cat Kid Comic Club
by Dav PIlkey
Every since Li'l Petey found his way to the DogMan books, he crawled into readers' hearts and has become a fan favorite. So it should be no surprise that he's getting his own series! And I love that it's something so different from DogMan, but it still has the heart, humor, and even some cameos!
The storyline centers around creativity and what it takes to make a comic. And, who gets to decide what stories to write! Li'l Petey is starting a Comic Club and he's got lots of little frog friends to teach. Lucky for him he has his friends Molly and Flippy the Fish, around to help him out! Full of writing advice, like how to get ideas, how to have a critique group, and how to give ideas without changing the story into what you want to hear. I love how the book incorporates different kinds of storytelling techniques including comics, photography, painting, and claymation. And what's a Dav Pilkey story without some age appropriate bathroom humor (I mean, come on, it still makes adults chuckle), this book is going to elicit giggles and make you reach for some paper and pencils. I love how Pilkey finds ways to inspire while having loads of fun. The Cat Kid series is going to be as well-read as Pilkey's other series so be sure to have many copies on hand.
This first book in the series publishes December 1st.
Thank you to Lizette Serrano and Scholastic for this early copy!
While your readers are waiting for publication, share this video where Dav talks about his inspiration and hope for this new series: www.scholastic.com/pilkeypreview
Publisher Simon and Schuster has a whole new line of graphic novels aimed at young readers. Look for these books in February of 2021!
Dragon Kingdom of Wrenly: The Coldfire Curse
by Jordan Quinn
I'm so excited to have this dragon-themed graphic novel for readers. Kids love dragon books and I know we will all need multiple copies of this series.
This first book introduces us to dragon cousins Cinder and Groth, and their new friend, the scarlet dragon, Ruskin. A curse has fallen upcon Wrenly and it's other kingdoms and it's up to the three of them to reverse the curse. Ruskin, who has always been the young prince's pet, is having trouble believing that he just may be the dragon to not only reverse the curse, but also the dragon that is meant to rule.
Super Turbo Saves the Day!
by Edgar Powers
If you're familiar with the Captain Awesome series, then you may already know about Turbo. Of course, Turbo also has his own chapter book series. Now he's coming to us in graphic novel format. I think this character fits in the graphic novel format because the stories already have a superhero vibe to them, it seems to be an easy enough transition. I do notice a different author's name associated with this version, not sure why the change occurred.
In this first story, Turbo discovers he's not the only superhero at his school and ends up meeting a superhero guinea pig, gecko, fish, and rabbit. It looks like this first graphic novel has the same storyline as the first chapter book. This new coming book approach will help visual readers. It will be nice to have multiple ways to read this series.
Pup Detectives: The First Case
by Felix Gumpaw
Once I saw some of the character names I realized this is a reboot of another series I adore - the Rider Woofson series. There are 10 books in the transitional chapter book series and it's one I frequently use to hook readers into a series. They are fun mysteries that are solved by an all dog private investigator group. The most difficult part of that series is getting the characters down. I typically spend time with readers who are new to the series, learning character names and traits. Once they have them down, they are usually good to go to understanding the rest of the series.
At first I was glad to start this one because I figured it would help with the hardest part - visualizing the characters. This time Rider and his friends are in school instead of running their own business, but they're still focusing on solving the important mysteries!
What I had trouble with is the placement of the talk bubbles. In a series that is being marketed to young readers, the talk bubbles are very confusing. Readers are used to reading from left to right, but graphic novel readers know you also have to look at what talk bubble is on top and you read them in order going from top down. If there are multiple characters in a frame in this book with multiple talk bubbles, a reader has to be very careful about looking to see the order to read the bubbles. In this series, the top bubble is often on the right side of the frame and you read it first. But your eyes usually want to read all of the talk bubbles that are on the left side, and again, in this series, the story no longer makes sense. I wish the illustrator had flipped the characters around so the character speaking first was on the left side of the frame. I think young readers are going to find some confusion with this.
I will still encourage readers to start with the chapter book series before jumping into the graphic novel one. If they make some changes so it becomes more readable, then I would add it to my collection.
In the marketing materials sent to me from Simon and Schuster, it talks about how this series of graphic novels are designed for readers in Kg-4th grade (ages 5-9). I find this a bit misleading. The storylines will appeal to readers in that age range, and I would even bring it up to 10 years old, or 5th grade. However, these GNs are still longer in page length (all over 100 pages) and are the size of a typical comic book (does not have a small trim size). Which means there are multiple frames on a page (up to 5) which adds up the amount of print. For your average kindergartner, 1st grade, and beginning of 2nd grade reader, these series will be a challenge. If you're looking for graphic novels to fit a typical kg-1st gr reader, I would still recommend Scholastic's Acorn line. I would love to see more publishers look at what they are doing and publish more for our very young readers.
The other thing I urge publishers to consider is how many of these early graphic novels are realistic fiction stories, because it seems to be most are animals and other fantasy creatures. Young readers still want to see themselves within the pages of a graphic novel. They love animals and dragons, but humans are good too!
Don't miss the other graphic novel posts from this week: