Written in classic Thirties' private-eye style, this crime noir mystery has Joey Fly and his sidekick Sammy Stingtail searching all over Bugville looking for a missing diamond pencil case. With an eccentric cast of insect and arachnid characters that are sure to appeal to kids, the humor will keep them laughing and the mystery itself is a fun one that will keep kids guessing and following the clues. Most of the art is done in dark blue & white to give that old noir feeling, but other color palettes show up as well to add variety. This one will have kids clamoring for another Joey Fly book, so let's hope Mr. Reynolds has a series planned!
Adventures in Cartooning: How to Turn Your Doodles Into Comics
by James Sturm
First Second Books
Nominated by: EM
A knight sets out on his trusty steed to defeat the evil dragon, but this silly story has plenty of twists and turns that will keep you reading and laughing. Full of helpful tips on writing (or reading) comics, the book balances story and information perfectly. The simple, bright illustrations show that drawing a great story can be done by one and all.
The Stonekeeper's Curse stands on its own as a ripping yarn, even for readers who missed the first volume. As Em and Nevin seek an antidote to cure their mother, they join in the battle against the evil elf king, who has a shadowy history with the amulet Em carries. Will Em learn to manage the power of the amulet before it destroys her?
Eleven-year-old Julian tries very hard to fit in his new middle school. Along with two other secretly smart kids, he becomes part of the Secret Science Alliance. When their blueprints for such ideas as the stinkometer get into the wrong hands, these brainiacs set out to get them back with hilarious results. Clever, imaginative and fun, this graphic novel shows that science can be cool with characters and inventions that readers can get excited about.
Frankie Pickle has a vivid imagination and spends most of his time play-acting and inevitably making an ultimate mess of his room. It's hard to be a neat and tidy treasureseeker, you know? But when his mother agrees that he doesn't have to clean it anymore, Frankie is overjoyed; the only stipulation being he must deal with the consequences himself. Frankie is a fun-loving, intelligent, character with a truly enormous and splendid imagination and a refreshingly respectful and non-whining child. This hybrid of text and graphic novel (about 60/40) has delightful cartoon illustrations that kids will love. Frankie's imaginary turns as a treasure seeker, super hero, prisoner, surgeon, etc. are all positive role models. They show kids they can have a ton of fun with just their imagination (no remotes, rechargeable batteries or wi-fi required!).
The Dreamer: The Consequence of Nathan Hale, Part 1 (Pt. 1)
by Lora Innes
Nominated by: Tina Broomfield
Seventeen-year-old Beatrice "Bea" Whaley vividly dreams of a handsome Revolutionary War soldier and she welcomes her nightly adventures. Later though, she finds they might be more than just dreams. The use of the Revolutionary War mixed with contemporary characters makes this story not only entertaining but sure to appeal to reluctant readers and those who love a great tale.
Antimony Carver is about to spend her first year at Gunnerkrigg Court, a boarding school that functions more as a factory and is full of mysterious secrets. The setting seems to echo many other boarding school fantasies, but at the same time is wholly unique as the industrial world of the school meets the magic of spirits and fairies of the forest across the river. The use of seemingly simplistic artwork is a great complement to the complexity of the constantly twisting plot.
by Chris Schweizer
Descended from a long line of adventurers, young Eric Crogan finds himself in a "situation of moral uncertainty." His sympathetic father recounts the saga of Catfoot Crogan, a privateer from the early 18th century. Clever dialogue and Schweizer's caricature-like drawings merge into a cinematic story of pirates and mayhem.
Sepia tones, pop-eyed crazies and a profusion of whiskers and teeth bring out the horror for fans of Edgar Allan Poe. Gris Grimley's alternately humorous and horrifying artwork nudges four classic tales into a whole new world of creepy.
With a dark palette and a detailed, action-filled plot, this retelling breathes new life into the old legend. We follow the hero Robin as he does his best to right the wrongs of the past, woo a widow, and bring King Richard back to England. Political intrigue, crazy schemes, and questions of loyalty abound; we also liked the afterward by Allen W. Wright.