4 New Graphic Novels to Love
As if you need one more reason to start reading the Lunch Lady series. After a near collision with a grocery employee who was mindlessly rolling a train of carts straight at me, I mumbled, “What an idiot,” or something like that.
To which my nine-year-old said, “Remember Lunch Lady.”
“She looks normal, but she’s got supernatural powers.”
He’s right, of course. The extraordinary parading around as ordinary. You never know. Besides, it’s good to be kind. There’s enough of that other stuff going around to last you a life time.
Number eight in the series is now out, Lunch Lady and the Picture Day Peril, by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Lunch Lady and Betty are trying to figure out why nearly the entire school has come down with a case of acne on picture day. Things get messier when Stefani, the photographer, persuades one of the students that she could be a model, only it will cost $1000 to do the head shots. Betty runs some tests on the photography permission slips and finds they were tainted with acne-inducing chemicals. To get to the bottom of this, Lunch Lady has to use a lot of her fancy tools—the ketchup packet laser, mustard grappling hook, the serving spoon crowbar.
Ages 9-12 | Publisher: Random House Children’s Books | September 11, 2012
By Madeleine L’Engle; Illustrated by Hope Larson
Can it be done? Should it be done? Why not? If the point is to get kids reading, then why not turn the classics into graphic novels? It’s the fiftieth anniversary of Madeline L’ Engel’s A Wrinkle In Time, and Hope Larson has paid homage to the book by putting it in graphic novel form. Larson, an award-winning graphic novelist, says she fell in love with the book as a girl, and you can see that love poured into her illustrations. Larson brings her talent, imagining the likes of Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which and the Happy Medium.
Ages 10 and up | Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux | October 2, 2012
By L. Frank Baum, Ben Caldwell
Marvel comic artist Ben Caldwell teams up with L. Frank Baum to bring to young readers, The Wizard of Oz. Baum has gone a step further in reimagining the classic by jazzing up the dialogue. When Dorothy lands in the Land of Oz, she looks around, “Huh. I’m pretty sure I remember Kansas having more prairie and less blue houses.” When she comes across the talking scarecrow, Dorothy says, “Oh, this is just silly. Scarecrows can’t talk!” To which the scarecrow answers, “Hmm. I have so much to learn, you see, I was born yesterday.”
Ages 10 and up | Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books | September 4, 2012
By Jeanne DuPrau
First published in 2003, then turned into a movie, now The City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau, is a graphic novel. Adapted by Dallas Middaugh and illustrated by Niklas Asker, the graphic novel follows the same plot, but comes alive with the pictures. The city of Ember is the last light in a dark world. But with the lights flickering and supplies running low, the world may fall into complete darkness. As the threat becomes more real, the beautiful illustrations become darker, full of brown and black tones. Fortunately Lina and Doon find a mysterious document that may hold the answer to retaining the light.
Ages 8 and up | Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers | September 25, 2012