A high-energy consciousness raiser, if not a practical guide to environmental issues and action. (Graphic novel. 8-10)

LUZ SEES THE LIGHT

A young eco-activist spreads the word in this message-driven webcomic spinoff.

Showing a realistic 12-year-old’s reluctance to change her ways and expectations, Luz at last sees the environmental light thanks to repeated large-scale power failures and her mother’s continued complaints about the prices of gas ($7.01 Canadian, which puts this story in a very near future) and of groceries that aren’t locally made. With help from friends like her comically high-strung new buddy Robert, a vegetarian and computer geek, and other neighbors, Luz goes on to convert a littered empty lot into a tidy, well-tended pocket garden/playground. Though the dialogue is anything but natural-sounding (“Good-bye, trash-infested lot, hello plant paradise! This is going to change the face of our street forever!”), Luz’s infectious energy comes through strongly both in her tendency to utter grand pronouncements and in the exuberantly exaggerated body language she and the other figures display in the author’s two-color cartoon scenes. Analytical readers may wonder where Luz gets all the free planters and playground equipment, or how she kept her mother in the dark until the park was a fait accompli—but internal logic takes a back seat here to inspirational rhetoric and the rewards of community organizing.

A high-energy consciousness raiser, if not a practical guide to environmental issues and action. (Graphic novel. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-55453-581-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock”...

THE SINGING ROCK & OTHER BRAND-NEW FAIRY TALES

The theme of persistence (for better or worse) links four tales of magic, trickery, and near disasters.

Lachenmeyer freely borrows familiar folkloric elements, subjecting them to mildly comical twists. In the nearly wordless “Hip Hop Wish,” a frog inadvertently rubs a magic lamp and finds itself saddled with an importunate genie eager to shower it with inappropriate goods and riches. In the title tale, an increasingly annoyed music-hating witch transforms a persistent minstrel into a still-warbling cow, horse, sheep, goat, pig, duck, and rock in succession—then is horrified to catch herself humming a tune. Athesius the sorcerer outwits Warthius, a rival trying to steal his spells via a parrot, by casting silly ones in Ig-pay Atin-lay in the third episode, and in the finale, a painter’s repeated efforts to create a flattering portrait of an ogre king nearly get him thrown into a dungeon…until he suddenly understands what an ogre’s idea of “flattering” might be. The narratives, dialogue, and sound effects leave plenty of elbow room in Blocker’s big, brightly colored panels for the expressive animal and human(ish) figures—most of the latter being light skinned except for the golden genie, the blue ogre, and several people of color in the “Sorcerer’s New Pet.”

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock” music. (Graphic short stories. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59643-750-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A classic story of outsiders making friends—with a little something more.

LONG DISTANCE

After moving to a new city, a girl attends a wilderness camp to help her make new friends.

When astronomy-obsessed 9-year-old Vega’s dad Wes gets a new job, the family moves from Portland to Seattle. Vega is not happy about this change and doesn’t want to leave her best friend behind, worrying they will grow apart. Vega’s dad Javi thinks making new friends will help her adjust, so he signs her up for Camp Very Best Friend, which is designed to help introverted local children build new friendships. Vega is not exactly eager to go but makes a deal with Wes, agreeing to try out camp as long as he tries to make a new friend too. It quickly becomes clear that this is no ordinary outdoor adventure, and Vega and her fellow campers try to figure out what is really going on. The story smoothly incorporates STEM facts with insets on the page to define and highlight terms or tools. An unexpected twist toward the end of this fast-paced adventure that reveals the truth behind the camp will surprise readers. The clean, bright artwork is enhanced by panels of varying shapes and clear, easy-to-follow speech bubbles. Race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation are not explicitly addressed; characters’ names and physical appearances indicate a broadly diverse cast starting with brown-skinned Vega and her two dads.

A classic story of outsiders making friends—with a little something more. (Graphic fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5566-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more