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Showing posts from December, 2010

Smile written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier, 213 pp, RL 4

Smile, written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier with color by Stephanie Yue, has been on the shelves since February of this year. It caught my eye because it kept bouncing back and forth between the Young Readers section and the Graphic Novel section in the kid's department while corporate decided how to classify it and, while it bounced back and forth it kept selling. Selling very well for a graphic novel, and one with a girl main character at that. So, I mentally added it to my To-Be-Read-Pile. Then Smile started popping up on all the book review blogs that I read. Finally, Barry Deutsch, author of the superb graphic novel Hereville:  How Mirka Got Her Sword mentioned the book among his list of favorite graphic novels in an interview at here. It was time to buy this graphic novel. I intended to only read a few pages but ended up reading it from cover to cover and staying up WAY past my bedtime...  It was well worth the loss of sleep.

Telgemeier got her start adapting Ann M Mar…

Interview with Barry Deutsch, creator of HEREVILLE!

I am just so completely in love with Mirka and entranced by Hereville that, after checking out Hereville.com and discovering that Barry Deutsch looks like a pretty friendly guy, I sent him some fan mail.  He is a very friendly guy AND he agreed to answer a few of my questions about his amazing first graphic novel!  Also, at the end of the interview Barry recommends graphic novels and webcomics that he (and some young listeners) are currently enjoying with links to all.  A sheynem dank, Barry!




Obvious first question:  Why an Orthodox Jewish girl?





Why not an Orthodox Jewish girl? 
A decade or more before I created Hereville, I read the book Holy Days, by Lis Harris, which includes a lot about the daily life of a Hasidic Jewish family. I read that and thought it was fascinating -- an entire society, embedded in modern-day society but in many ways so separate and distinct. When I create a comic, my imagined audience is always me -- "what would I find interesting to read about"? Sin…

Dinosaur vs. The Potty written and illustrated by Bob Shea

Bob Shea is clearly a father.  There is no way you can read his two most recent books, Dinosaur vs. Bedtime and Dinosaur vs. the Potty and think anything else.  Ok, maybe you might be thinking that he remembers his own childhood really, really well.  However, if you read the dedication in Dinosaur vs. the Potty you will learn that he IS a dad (he thanks his son for remembering to use the potty) and that he has a great wife (whom he thanks for reminding his son to go to the potty.)  Kids love dinosaurs and kids, when they are just learning to use the potty, like to wait as long as possible to go.  If you have potty trained a child, you know what I am talking about.  Shea takes this theme and turns it into a high energy, past paced book that is actually a little bit suspenseful!  In  Dinosaur vs. Bedtime, you knew the end was inevitable. Dino WOULD go to bed.  But, in this new book you're never sure until the end if Dinosaur will hold out too long and have an accident or if he will …

The Butt Book written by Artie Bennett and illustrated by Mike Lester

I am a firm believer that there is a book that can address any issue, any concern, any dilemma.  Books can show, books can teach and books can help kids to understand the way the world works.  When I had my first child, I couldn't wait to buy Taro Gomi's essential Everyone Poops.    While there isn't too much that needs to be learned about the subject, Artie Bennett'sThe Butt Book does do the service of showing kids that everyone has one, what the various names for it are and what it is good for.  I know that this word is off limits in many home and considered crass by others, but in my house it is the most expedient way of getting to the bottom of the issue, no pun intended.  And, knowing that this is a somewhat sensitive issue, I thought I'd give this book a test run before deciding wether or not to review it.  Every Monday I volunteer in my son's kindergarten classroom.  Besides the usual tasks, I have the pleasure of reading one or two books to the kids eac…

Interview with Donna Gephart

Donna, thanks so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for me.  I think you are a fabulous writer and the stories you tell are somehow both very unique and universal.  I read both of your books and they had so many similarities and differences that I just had to ask you how you came to write them.  For those of you who have not read Donna's books yet, Vanessa is the main character of as if being 12 3/4 isn't bad enough, my mother is running for presidentand David is the main character of How to Survive Middle School.



Thank you, Tanya!I appreciate your generous reviews and kind words.

I made the bold pronouncement in my review of your newest book that I felt like you were superbly qualified to take over the mantle that Judy Blume has long held in the world of young readers.  Did you read Judy Blume as a kid?  What books from your childhood made a lasting impression on you?

I don’t know how to respond to such generous praise.Thank you.Judy Blume had such a profound imp…