Sunday, February 24, 2013

Really Good Graphic Novels for Kids

Ok, lets get it out there .... I am not a huge fan of the graphic novel.  This is not secret.  However, as the genre has evolved, I have been more and more impressed with what is being produced.  This week I actually found three graphic novels that excited me.  Two of them are downright funny in a clever and intelligent way and the third is a remake of a classic children's book, A Wrinkle in Time, which actually adds dimension to the original novel.

This first book I am profiling is a gem.  Kids will laugh, be engaged and learn about American history.  This is really one not to be missed ... you have been warned!

Title:       Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy

Author:   Nathan Hale

Target:    Grades 3-7

Series:     Yes.  You can see a review of the second book, Big Bad Ironclad on my son’s blog: one great book unplugged.

What this book is about:
Nathan Hale was America’s first spy during the Revolutionary War.  In real life he is captured and hung, but in our story, before he can be killed, he is sucked up into a huge history book, and when he returns he has read the future history of America (really - in the book it works.)  He then goes on to share with the executioner and the British soldier who has captured him, the story of the United States (or in this particular book, up to the battles for New York during the Revolutionary War.)

Why I love this book:
Well Nathan is surrounded by a very funny and endearing hangman who is just flabbergasted at every story Nathan shares with him.  His naiveté can be laugh out loud funny at times.  Our British soldier is quite pompous and sure that the British will prevail, even in the face of defeat.  They provide a great foil for the stories, although even throughout the narratives Hale has created larger than life personas to keep the history entertaining.  Your kids will learn quite a bit about American history without even knowing they are being taught.

Who this book is for:
Great book for all kids, but especially kids who like funny books and are interested in war or history.  However, this is not a prerequisite since Hale has managed to make  the history easily accessible and entertaining.

Final thoughts:
My kids are already begging me for the next book in the series!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy  A portion of each purchase goes back to support this blog.

Title:       Bird & Squirrel on the Run

Author:   James Burks

Target:    Grades 2-5

Series:      Not yet ... but I hope so

What this book is about:
Bird is a daredevil, an adventurer, a feathered creature who throws caution to the wind.  Squirrel is cautious, careful and likes to plan.  When Squirrel saves Bird from the evil cat, and looses his acorns for the winter in the process, he is forced to go south with Bird in order to survive.  What ensues is a very funny adventure, where Bird teaches Squirrel to loosen up and enjoy life.  Now if only our evil cat weren’t always waiting in the wings!

Why I love this book:
First off, I love graphic novels with full color graphics, and these drawings are crisp, clear and literally jump off the page.  Visually this book is a treat.  But the best part is that the story is equally fun.  Bird and Squirrel play off each other brilliantly, which keeps the laughs coming.  My middle son was reading this book in the car and just kept laughing out loud.  His brother couldn’t wait to grab the book as soon as he was done, or truthfully a little before he was done.

Who this book is for:
Kids who like graphic novels.  The book isn’t that long, so older kids will zip through it pretty fast.

Final thoughts:
Bird and Squirrel are a duo not to be missed!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Bird & Squirrel on the Run  A portion of each purchase goes back to support this blog.

Title:       A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel

Adapted & Illustrated by:  Hope Larson

Target:    Grades 4-8

What this book is about:
This is a graphic novel adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s Newbery winning book, A Wrinkle in Time.  The novel stays very true to the original story.  For those unfamiliar with the story, it centers around a girl, Meg, who is looking for her father who has gone missing.  Meg, her brother Charles and friend Calvin are transported through time and space to battle the evil IT to retrieve her father and attempt to return home.

Why I love this book:
I loved this graphic novel.  I understand how many who love the original story might be wary of a graphic version, but it is so well done.  There are actually points in the story when the illustrations helped me better follow the narrative and I got sucked into this story to a greater degree than I did with the original.  The illustrations actually made it more relatable for me.  

Who this book is for:
This one is a little tougher.  I think if your child has already read the book, this version might easily give them a greater understanding of the story.  Also, if you loved the book and are having problems getting your child interested in the story, this version will certainly do a better job of pulling them in.  If kids have no knowledge of the original, the story might seem a bit farfetched and is probably best for a kid who likes sci-fi.

Final thoughts:
It is amazing to me how close this stayed to the original story - yet it added a new dimension to the tale.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel  A portion of each purchase goes back to support this blog.


  1. I think my middle son will love these. Thanks!

    1. My middle son has been laughing out loud reading the Nathan Hale book. Thanks!!

    2. I'm so glad. This one is a winner in our house!