Tag Archives: graphic novel

Brobot by James Foley

 

I absolutely love the Bad Guys books by Aaron Blabey.  For a while now I’ve been looking for something else to suggest to kids that is similar to the Bad Guys, both in the way that the story is told and the humour.  I’ve found the perfect book in James Foley’s new junior graphic novel, Brobot.

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Sally Tinker makes machines … and Joe Tinker breaks them. As the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve, Sally knows she can build a better brother than Joe. But is her invention – Brobot – really all that a brother should be?

Brobot is a hilarious junior graphic novel about a girl and her search for the perfect brother.  There is something in this book for everyone – annoying brothers who destroy everything, inventions, robots, toxic nappies, destruction and a whole lot of laughs. I’m sure a lot of kids will relate to Sally and her problems with her annoying little brother.

I loved James Foley’s previous book, My Dead Bunny (with Sigi Cohen) and I’ve been following the development of Brobot for a while, so it’s great to finally read it.  The story is really funny by itself but the comic illustrations add to the laughs.  Sally’s human brother Joe doesn’t even say anything and he still makes you laugh.  The facial expressions of Sally and Joe are enough to make you crack up sometimes.  I especially love Sally’s name, which she shortens to S. Tinker Inc.

Although it’s a graphic novel it’s a chapter book format so I’ll be shelving it with my younger fiction, just like the Bad Guys series.

Brobot is perfect for anyone who likes Aaron Blabey, Kyle Mewburn or just a really funny read.

Check out this great book trailer for Brobot too:

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Win a signed copy of Smile by Raina Telgemeier

It’s been a bit quiet on My Best Friends Are Book lately as I’ve been settling in to my new role as a school librarian.  I’m catching up on books I’ve missed and I’ll try and post lots over the school holidays.  Anyway, here is an exciting new competition for you!

I got to attend the IBBY Congress in Auckland last month and one of the authors that I met was graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier.  Raina is the creator of such awesome graphic novels as Smile, Sisters and Drama, and she has also adapted some of The Babysitters Club stories into graphic novels.  While at IBBY I got a copy of Smile signed (and doodled in) by Raina to give away on the blog.

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All you have to do to enter is email bestfriendsrbooks@gmail.com with the subject ‘Smile,’ along with your name and address.  I will draw a winner at random.  Competition closes Friday 30 September (NZ only).

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The Bad Guys: Episode One by Aaron Blabey

Aaron Blabey writes very funny picture books.  His picture books about Pig the Pug and Thelma the Unicorn are hilarious and are some of my favourite picture books.  I was excited when I heard that Aaron Blabey was going to be publishing a series of books for older children, called The Bad Guys.  The first book in the series, Episode One, is out now and it is absolutely brilliant!

They sound like the Bad Guys, they look like the Bad Guys . . . and they even smell like the Bad Guys. But Mr Wolf, Mr Piranha, Mr Snake and Mr Shark are about to change all of that! Mr Wolf has a daring plan for the Bad Guys’ first good mission. The gang are going to break 200 dogs out of the Maximum Security City Dog Pound. Will Operation Dog Pound go smoothly? Will the Bad Guys become the Good Guys? And will Mr Snake please spit out Mr Piranha?

The Bad Guys: Episode One is a short, witty and incredibly funny book that will have you laughing out loud.  It’s the sort of book that makes you laugh all the way through.  The humour works on different levels so – there is lots to make younger kids laugh but adults will get some jokes that kids might not.

The story focuses on a group of animals who are always thought of as bad guys – Mr Wolf, Mr Snake, Mr Piranha and Mr Shark.  They get a pretty bad rap, from attempting to eat old women to eating anything and anybody.  Mr Wolf is sick of being misunderstood so he calls his friends together and they set out to prove they can be good guys.  Their plans never quite seem to go as planned and have hilarious consequences.

There are so many things I love about The Bad Guys!  The way that Aaron tells the story draws the reader in, with Mr Wolf speaking directly to the reader at the start of the book.  It’s a cross between a graphic novel and a chapter book, with sparse text and funny illustrations, so will appeal to beginner readers right through to older children.  I love Aaron Blabey’s illustrations because his characters are so expressive and it’s the combination of these illustrations and the text that make this book so funny.

The Bad Guys begs to be read aloud so grab a copy of Episode 1 and laugh along with your children as you introduce them to the bad guys who just want to be good.

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The Sleepwalkers by Viviane Schwarz

Do you have a bad dream that will not go away?
Are you afraid to sleep at night?
Call the Sleepwalkers!
Write us a letter, put it under your pillow…and we will come a save you!
Have a good night!

It is almost time for the old and tired Sleepwalkers to return to the waking world. But before they go, they must conjure and train three new replacements. For who else will look after the Sleepwalking House and be there to answer the call of a child frozen stiff with fear, trapped in a nightmare? This is the story of the NEW Sleepwalkers.

I’m a huge fan of Viviane Schwarz’ books (There Are Cats in This Book, Cheese Belongs to You) so you can imagine how excited I was when I read on Twitter that she was working on her very first graphic novel.

The Sleepwalkers is a unique and delightfully strange story about a group of creatures who protect children while they sleep.  The Sleepwalkers are conjured from socks, a bedspread and even a quill and are tasked with saving children from their nightmares and bad dreams.  When they are created, they find themselves in the Safe House, a many-roomed house that exists in the world of dreams.  They leave the Safe House when they are needed and return here after they have completed their mission.  When the Sleepwalkers meet the children they are having a nightmare (being chased by rats or falling from the sky), and it is the job of the Sleepwalkers to help them overcome their fears.  A nightmare about falling from the sky turns into a dream about flying on the backs of dinosaurs.  The story is weird and wonderful, and it’s filled with action and adventure.

Viviane’s style of illustration translates well to this graphic novel format and she lets her imagination run wild in the dream world.  One of the reasons I like her illustrations so much is the wonderful expressions she gives her characters and this really shines through in The Sleepwalkers.  I love Bonifacius, the bear-like character because he’s got such an expressive face.  There are times in the story where doesn’t talk for a page or two and you can tell exactly how he’s feeling because of these expressions.

My favourite thing about The Sleepwalkers (and the thing that makes this graphic novel really special) is the added extras that Viviane has put in the book.  You can learn how to make a sock monkey and a banana milkshake, and she’s drawn a detailed diagram of the Safe House and the Turtlemobile.

If you know a kid that’s looking for a new and exciting comic of graphic novel, with plenty of action, adventure and a little bit of magic, then grab a copy of The Sleepwalkers.

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Make way for the Super Baddies!

Hardie Grant Egmont, the publishers that brought you the Go Girl and Zac Power series, has just released an exciting new graphic novel series for young readers.  Super Baddies is a comic-style series all about heroes and villains, but instead of being all about the goodies, these books are all about the baddies.  The first book, Baddies vs. Goodies introduces you to the characters and the world that they live in.  You meet Giant Boy, Scorcher, Sand Storm, Mean Streak, Frosty, Bad Mads, and my favourite, Piranha Face.  So far there are two books in the series, Baddies vs. Goodies and When Robots Go Bad, but there are more to come and each one focuses on a different Baddie.

They’re a great way to hook readers in to graphic novels, because they’re bright, fun, and easy to read. Simon Swingler’s cartoon-style illustrations will really appeal to young readers.  He doesn’t make the pages too busy, so it’s easy enough for younger children to follow the story.  Those kids that like Zac Power will surely love this series, and they’ll hook those kids that supposedly ‘hate reading.’  The covers are eye-catching and kids will be lining up to get their hands on them.  Baddies vs. Goodies even has the added extra of a super test you can take to figure out if you’re a Baddie or a Goodie.

Meet Scorcher, the Baddie featured in Baddies vs. Goodies:

Go out and grab the Super Baddies series for the little Baddie in your life. Book 1 and 2 are available now.

Enter my competition to win a Super Baddies Prize Pack.

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Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel

Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapelis about a boy called Garth Hale who gets accidentally zapped into the ghost world by Frank Gallows, an agent for the Supernatural Immigration Task Force.  Frank has messed up big time and gets fired from his job, but he promises Garth’s mum that he’ll find him in the ghost world and bring him home.  Meanwhile, in the ghost world Garth makes friends with Skinny, a skeleton horse, and a ghost boy who just happens to be his grandpa.   They meet all of the groups that inhabit Ghostopolis, including the Mummies, the Wisps, the Specters, the Zombies, the Boogeymen and the Bone People.  Soon they’re on the run from Vaugner the evil ruler of Ghostopolis, who wants to use Garth’s newly discovered abilities to increase his control of the spirit world.  Will Garth find a way home and will Frank Gallows keep his promise?  Find out in Ghostopolis.

Ghostopolis is a spooky, adventure-filled story with plenty of laughs thrown in.  I really liked Doug TenNapel’s style of illustration because it’s colourful and the panels are not overcrowded with detail.  I particularly like how Doug has presented his characters (Frank Gallows looks worried alot of the time, Vaugner just looks plain evil with his blank eyes and spiky hair, and Garth just looks like an ordinary kid).  If you like graphic novels like Tintin, Asterix or The Rainbow Orchid and want something a little different, you’ll love Ghostopolis.

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Shaolin Burning by Ant Sang

Shaolin Burning is the fantastic graphic novel  by award-winning New Zealand cartoonist, Ant Sang.  It’s a mix of kung fu legend and Chinese history, and it’s totally cool.  You might recognize his illustrations because he was one of the creators of NZ TV series, bro’ Town.  Check out this great book trailer by publishers, HarperCollins NZ.

You can also check out an interview with him from TV3’s Nightline programme.

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