Skip to main content

Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge, 192 pp, RL TEEN



Will & Whit is the newest graphic novels from the stunningly creative Laura Lee Gulledge. Her last book, Page by Paige, the story of an artistic girl who has to move from her childhood home to New York City and start at a new high school, was impressive, among many impressive things, for Gulledge's ability to give readers a glimpse into Paige's imagination by putting it on the page in pictures. But, Gulledge's characters do more than think creatively, they actually create. Paige and her friends make some great street art and in Will & Whit, the lamp-making Willhemena Huckstep finds herself exploring new creative territory when she is invited to join the Penny Farthing Carnival, a collection of performances and installations.

 

As hurricane Whitney approaches, Will finds herself with more sleepless nights, and not just because of the impending storm. Will's parents died almost a year ago and her loving, globetrotting aunt Ella has returned home to run the family antiques store and take care of Will, who is still struggling with her loss. Will, the lamp maker, is scared of the dark. Where we saw Paige's creative imaginings in Page by Paige, she shows us the shadowy imaginings that follow Will wherever she goes in Will & Whit. With her friends by her side, the proto-chef Noel and Autumn the puppeteer, Will makes it through the storm and the stormy romances that the carnival stirs up to create a Shadow Sculpture that ultimately helps her come to terms with the darkness in her life.

Gulledge is making a fine name for herself as a graphic novelist, especially as one who sheds a light (no pun intended) on the inner life of characters who express themselves creatively. I can't wait to see what she does next!



Source: Review Copy


Comments

Jeremy said…
Always with the dead parents. It feels like a kid-lit conspiracy to kill us all off so our children can get busy overcoming adversity. Sorry, I'll stop complaining about this issue now...
:)
Tanya Turek said…
So, so true though... Marjorie Ingall succinctly summed up the current rules of fantasy in a book review by saying:

"Want to write a middle-grade fantasy adventure series? It’s easy! First, conjure up a plucky, prickly team of three — children who have to learn to trust one another and work together. Make the stakes really high; saving the world is always good. Use lots of wisecracking humor. Ensure the parents are absent (dead, missing, away — you’ll figure it out). Invoke classic themes and figures from folklore and mythology, but don’t bother becoming slavishly wedded to them. Be sure to include an intellectually or physically butt-kicking girl."

When does this formula get stale? Or is it a useful metaphor, shorthand for bypassing other issues?

Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!

Be…

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started books4yourkids.com in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …