Graphic Novel Trios Continue

#232. Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood by Tony Lee. illustrated by Sam Hart & Artur Fujita. 2009. Age 13+. - An absolutely beautiful book! Slick, glossy pages with gorgeous artwork done in various monotones for different settings such as the forest scenes are done in greens, the Nottingham castle scenes in purples and the action/fighting scenes in reddish yellows. This palette certainly brings the mood and tone of the story alive. Tony Lee has set down a wonderful retelling of the Robin Hood legend taking various parts of the lore and weaving them into his own wonderful, serious, cohesive story of Robin Loxley robbing from the rich to both give to the poor and save to pay the King's ransom. He's made sure to keep the famous scenes present such as the joust with Little John on the bridge and the archery contest Robin wins while in disguise, though Lee has added his own twists on each to keep his retelling fresh and new. A wonderful piece of work to be enjoyed by Robin Hood enthusiasts and those new to the legend as well. 4/5

#233. The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan. 2009. Age 10+. - A combination of historical fiction and fantasy/folklore make up this strange tale that takes place during the American Dust Bowl of the 1930s. A family has been suffering for four years now without rain. The eldest daughter has dust pneumonia, the youngest has never seen rain, the father cannot work the farm on his own, the mother realizes they must pull up stakes and move and now 11yo Jack, our hero, has been too young to help around the farm as he grew over the years. He thinks he is a klutz and he has started seeing things; those around him think he has come down with dust dementia. As anyone who regularly reads my reviews knows, I love fantasy but I really did not like the fantasy element in this story. I would have enjoyed it much more as a straight historical fiction. The strange King of Storms Jack meets in the neighbour's barn was just plain weird and made no sense whatsoever. There were also way too many wordless pages for my enjoyment. Finally, while the artwork did suit the time period it didn't impress me, I found it wishy-washy. This book has received rave reviews but I'm going to have to beg to differ as the whole thing left me feeling 'meh'. 2.5/5

#234. Children of the Sea Vol. 1 by Daisuke Igarashi. 2009 English translation. 2007 orig. Japanese. Age 13+. A very intriguing fantastical story of the sea. Two children were raised in the sea by dugongs and now are living partially on land with a guardian who works with Ruko's father at an Aquarium. Ruko has just been kicked off the summer kickball team as she is too rough and she spends her time near the ocean. She meets Umi, one of the sea boys, and begins to find out about his mysterious life. At the same time, scientists are reporting the disappearance of certain common fish life from aquariums around the world. Ruko's father is studying this but one day Ruko sees it happen before her eyes in the aquarium. An extremely unique story that had me captivated from the beginning! The story is very well told, the characters are interesting and real and I am totally intrigued with the plot, which I haven't decided yet whether it is fantasy or science fiction. This is a Japanese book read back to front and the artwork is done realistically. At 316 pgs there is plenty of room to give a good background on the characters and proceeds well into the story up to a cliffhanger ending that makes one eager to read Vol. 2. The book is rated T (ages 16+ for disturbing images). I waited the whole book for this to show itself and near the end there was one image that was 'disturbing', though I'd just say weird. It is of a deformity. Other than that the book is totally clean and I, of a very conservative nature, have no problem recommending the book for 13+. 5/5


  1. I felt pretty "meh" about Storm in the Barn too. One of those books that gets rave reviews from the critics, probably wins awards, but very few actual children are going to be interested. I'd rather spend my budget on Hardy Boys graphic adaptations or classic Tintin and Asterix....I know those will circulate.


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