Monday, September 04, 2017

Review: Pirate Penguin Vs Ninja Chicken

Pirate Penguin Vs Ninja Chicken, Volume 1: Troublems with Frenemies by Ray Friesen

Pirate Penguin and Ninja Chicken are the perfect definition of frenemies. One minute they’re the best of friends, and then the next they’re fighting and trying to beat each other. But you can count on them having lots of fun along the way.

There is something so endearing about this book, and it’s not just the charming illustrative style (which I really enjoyed). It was instant book love for me. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book that consistently made me genuinely belly laugh. And then I was not only laughing, but also running to the next room to share my favorite jokes with family members. The antics of these two characters are completely silly and ridiculous, but somehow that works for their personalities. The “troublems” in the title should give you a clue that there’s a lot of odd word combinations, which sometimes works great for the storylines and sometimes not so much.

 My one complaint was that the format of the book was a little weird. The first half is made up of mini-comics episodes 1-3 pages long, while the second half of the book was a longer continuous story (albeit made of up of smaller episodes). If you can’t stand silly or ridiculous things, you’re probably not going to enjoy this one, but I can see kids totally eating this up (and adults who don’t take life too seriously will enjoy it too).

Shady Glade Rating: 5 leaves


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Monday, August 28, 2017

Review: Drama

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

The plot of Drama is hard to sum up.  I think this is because I see it more as a "slice in the life of" book.  Callie is a middle school student who loves theater (especailly musicals).  Due to a less than stellar singing voice though, rather than trying out for a role in her school's production of Moon Over Mississippi, she's part of the stage crew.   And you can bet there will be a whole lot of drama to ensue.

I’ll start by getting the controversial out of the way first. This is a middle grade book, featuring middle school aged characters, a book aimed at 9-12ish years of age. And one of the characters is gay. So if you’re a parent and that’s something that will bother you, keep that in mind. For me, personally, it didn’t bother me, and I say that coming from a conservative perspective. It is definitely presented as a situation where being gay is not a big deal, so parents you may want to use that to start a conversation with your children. Personally, I am of the opinion that a child in middle school doesn’t know enough about him/herself to know if he/she is gay yet, but that’s a discussion for a different medium.

 Moving on to the book itself, I have to start by saying that I love Raina Telgemeier’s books. I have read pretty much every one she’s done, and Smile in particular ranks up there in my favorite books of all time. That being said, I felt something was missing in Drama. There were parts of it that I loved. The artwork and characterization is spectacular as always, and I enjoyed the theater aspect greatly because it reminded me of my (brief) stint in high school theater. But as mentioned above I just didn’t feel like there was much of a plot. Callie seemed a little too boy crazy for my taste (although I realize some girls are really like that), I just felt like it didn’t gel well with the whole theater plot thread. I will also say that I wasn’t very happy with the shoehorned climax at the school dance, which I won’t talk more about because it would give the ending away. But it just felt a tad too cliché for me.

 All that being said, I would still recommend this, especially if like me you’re a fan of Telgemeier’s other books. I just think it’s going to need to find the right audience to really enjoy it.

Shady Glade Rating: 3 leaves



Available at Amazon.com in Hardcover, Paperback or Kindle
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