Friday, October 9, 2020

Frankie and the Creepy Cute Critters (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Oni Press via NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*


Frankie and the Creepy Cute Critters | Book by Caitlin Rose Boyle |  Official Publisher Page | Simon & SchusterAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: 
Frankie and the Creepy Cute Critters
Author: Caitlin Rose Boyle
Upcoming Release Date: October 13, 2020



Synopsis: Frankie Fairy loves to learn about creepy crawly critters in her own backyard! Now that she's at a new school, she's excited to learn even more about them! Instead, she learns that the other fairy kids in class think she's the creepy one. Is Frankie really that scary? And if she is—is that really a bad thing? Maybe her creepy crawly friends can help her figure it out!



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Review: This book is so colorful! Frankie's parent is a biology professor at the local university in the new town they've just moved into. A new school can be difficult. Frankie gets called Frankie the Scary Fairy at school, but she learned that not everything that you expect to be scary is what you expect. 

Frankie, with her trusty field guide, learns about snakes, opossums, mosquitoes, and bats. Scary animals aren't always scary when you get to know more about them.

This is a very cute story and I give it a 4/5. I love the themes. The artwork is beautiful and very colorful. I do wish the animals shown were more unusual, though. The facts are pretty well known animal facts. I'd prefer to learn things that many don't already know.


--PAUL

Friday, October 2, 2020

"The Times I Knew I Was Gay" (graphic novel) by Eleanor Crewes - Paul's REVIEW

 *I received this book as an eARC from Scribner via NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*


The Times I Knew I Was GayAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: The Times I Knew I Was Gay

Author: Eleanor Crewes
Upcoming Release Date: October 6, 2020


Synopsis: Ellie always had questions about who she was and how she fit in. As a girl, she wore black, obsessed over Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and found dating boys much more confusing than many of her friends did. As she grew older, so did her fears and a deep sense of unbelonging. From her first communion to her first girlfriend via a swathe of self-denial, awkward encounters, and everyday courage, Ellie tells her story through gorgeous illustrations—a fresh and funny self-portrait of a young woman becoming herself.

The Times I Knew I Was Gay reminds us that people sometimes come out not just once but again and again; that identity is not necessarily about falling in love with others, but about coming to terms with oneself. Full of vitality and humor, it will ring true for anyone who has taken the time to discover who they truly are. 



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Review: This graphic novel memoir follows the long journey of self realization. The gayness of Eleanor's life is the focus. All of those moments of queerness that when you look back at years later, it was so obvious but everyone's journey is different. Some people definitively know their own personal truths early on, but most people have longer journeys that may involve some different stops along the way. This book shows just one example of that journey. 

The artwork in this book is simple and shows the story excellently with great focus. 

I saw myself in this book. Memoirs are such great empathy tools. The specifics were great, from Willow to the flirting techniques of a (unbeknownst to her) closeted lesbian. 

I give this book a 5/5. This is a great graphic novel memoir. I think all queer people will find something of themselves in this book. And non-queer people will gain some great perspective and may relate to the queer experience more than they expect.


--PAUL

Sunday, September 27, 2020

The Legend of Korra: Ruins of the Empire (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

 *I received this book as an eARC from Dark Horse Books via Edelweiss. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*


Ruins of the Empire | Avatar Wiki | FandomAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: 
The Legend of Korra: Ruins of the Empire
Author: Michael Dante DiMartino
Illustrators: Michelle Wong & Killian Ng
Upcoming Release Date: September 29, 2020


Synopsis: To secure lasting peace for the Earth Kingdom, Korra must trust an unlikely ally!

On the eve of its first elections, the Earth Kingdom’s future is endangered by its past. As Kuvira works to reclaim her honor, the devious commander Guan undermines the peace Avatar Korra has established to take power for himself. Korra and Kuvira must learn to work together to ensure the future of the Earth Kingdom.

Enjoy the continuing Avatar adventures, now with a new sketchbook section and artist commentary! Written by series co-creator Michael Dante DiMartino and drawn by Michelle Wong (Goosebumps: Download and Die), with consultation by Bryan Konietzko, this is the official continuation of the beloved television series!

Collects The Legend of Korra: Ruins of the Empire Part One, Two, and Three. 



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Review: The focus of this volume is on politics and the complexities of democracy and brainwashing. The Earth Empire is still around, even with Kuvira on trial. Toph is featured in a wonderful way. I loved getting to see her family together and interacting again. The book even deals with the emotional side effects of brainwashing.

This is another great story that takes place after the animated tv series. The focus is heavily on Kuvira. And what it is like for a democracy to grow. I give this book a 5/5.


--PAUL

Saturday, September 26, 2020

How to They/Them: A Visual Guide to Nonbinary Pronouns and the World of Gender Fluidity - Paul's REVIEW

 *I received this book as an eARC from Sasquatch Books via NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*


How to They/Them by Stuart Getty - Penguin Books AustraliaAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: 
How to They/Them: A Visual Guide to Nonbinary Pronouns and the World of Gender Fluidity
Author: Stuart Getty
Illustrator: Brooke Thyng
Upcoming Release Date: September 29, 2020


Synopsis: Ever wonder what nonbinary or gender nonconforming really mean? And how the heck do you use they/them pronouns for just one person? Isn't it supposed to be plural?

This charming and disarming guide unpacks all these questions and more with a fun, visual approach. From a real-deal they/them-using genderqueer writer, this book makes it humorous and easy to learn so that everyone can get it. No soap boxes or divisive comment section wars here. Sometimes funny, sometimes serious, always human, this 101 primer is about more than just bathrooms and pronouns. It's about gender expression and the freedom to choose how to identify. While they might only be for some, that freedom is for everyone!



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Review: I LOVE that educational graphic novels like this are becoming more and more popular! This book is all about people who use they/them pronouns. Stuart starts with their own personal story. It's a great way to introduce the subject matter. 

The art is simple and matches the material well. There's a great mix of definitions, context, and conversation. There's humor along with the frustrations of living in a society that needs more empathy. 

Some famous people who use they/them pronouns are featured. There's a guide on how to be a good ally as well as a guide for people who use they/them pronouns on how best to deal with certain situations. The book ends with a list of resources, both call lines and websites. 

I absolutely love this book. You should buy this book and share it with all of your friends, family, and colleagues! I give this book a 5/5


--PAUL

Friday, September 25, 2020

Black Heroes of the Wild West (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

 *I received this book as an eARC from TOON Graphics via NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*


Black Heroes of the Wild West - TOON BooksAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: 
Black Heroes of the Wild West
Creator: James Otis Smith
Introduction by:Kadir Nelson
Upcoming Release Date: September 29, 2020


Synopsis: True stories from the Wild West, but not like you’ve seen in the movies.

This graphic novel by JAMES OTIS SMITH celebrates the extraordinary true tales of three black heroes who took control of their destinies and stood up for their communities in the Old West. Born into slavery in Tennessee, Mary Fields became famous as “Stagecoach Mary,” a cigar-chomping, cardplaying coach driver who never missed a delivery. Bass Reeves, the first black Deputy US Marshal west of the Mississippi, was one of the wiliest lawmen in the territories, bringing thousands of outlaws to justice with his smarts. Bob Lemmons lived to be 99 years old and was so good with horses that the wild mustangs on the plains of Texas took him for one of their own. 



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Review: I love learning stories that should be more well known. I hope young people today have access to stories like this so they can both see representation and diversity. I wish I had learned about these people earlier in my life. 

This graphic novel features Mary Fields, Bass Reeves, and Bob Lemmons. Their stories are told with the context of the time given. There's also an excellent introduction and additional information at the end about more of the history of the Wild West.

I give this book a 5/5. Everyone needs to learn the stories of these Black Heroes. 


--PAUL

Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Flower of the Witch (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

 *I received this book as an eARC from dark Horse Books via Edelweiss. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*


The Flower of the Witch - Kindle edition by Orlandi, Enrico ...Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: The Flower of the Witch

Creator: Enrico Orlandi
Translator: Jamie Richards
Upcoming Release Date: September 29, 2020


Synopsis: Tami has traveled long and far from his home in the south, forbidden to return until he has become a man, in this coming-of-age story.

Defeating monsters and saving princesses has not been enough, and now he must find the fabled flower of the witch, but in his quest Tami inadvertently sparks a feud between the villagers who shelter him and the demon Yabra! And when the conflict comes to a head, Tami will have to choose between proving himself as a man, and protecting the villagers he's come to love.

Available for the first time in English, Enrico Orlandi's exciting tale of adventure and compassion is a timely reflection on identity, responsibility, and the true meaning of maturity.



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Review: This graphic novel is about a boy's search to become "a man". It's about what family can be. The artwork works well with the story. I especially like the character designs of the demon and the witch. 

This book has a good message, but I wish it would have dived deeper. Honestly, I wish it had been queer. The message is grounded in the traditional binary masculinity. I give this book a 3/5


--PAUL

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Blank Page: How a Piece of Paper Connects to Everything (picture book) - Paul's REVIEW

  *I received this book as an eARC from Plum Blossom via Edelweiss. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*


The Blank Page: How a Piece of Paper Connects to Everything: Blanco, Alberto,  Wilson, Rob: 9781946764621: Amazon.com: BooksAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Title: 
The Blank Page: How a Piece of Paper Connects to Everything
Author: Alberto Blanco
Illustrator: Rob Wilson
Upcoming Release Date: September 22, 2020


Synopsis: Is a blank page really blank? Poet Alberto Blanco pulls back the curtain and illuminates all of the elements hidden in a single piece of paper: the tree it was made from, the rain and sun that allowed the tree to grow, and the people that created it. An enlightening read for readers young and old, it soon becomes clear that a blank page contains the whole cosmos.

In The Blank Page, acclaimed Mexican poet Alberto Blanco inspires children and adults to keep looking deeper, to never take things at face value. Charming illustrations by Rob Moss Wilson portray a world that slowly comes to life in a single sheet of paper: first the tree, then the forest, then the people are discovered, revealing the whole interrelated ecosystem of our world. As Blanco says: "Where nothing happens, there is a miracle we are not seeing."



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Review: What goes into a piece of paper? This picture book makes children think. They'll think about where many things come from and what all goes into them and what they provide for others. From the trees that will become paper to the people who chop them down to the animals who find protection in the trees to the nutrients the tree needs to survive. Everything has a history and is connected to other things. 
The story ends by grounding the reader back to the book that they're holding, going full circle. 

This picture book is such an interesting thought exercise. I love how it encourages children to think about the world around them in a different way. I give this book a 4/5


--PAUL