Archive for the “Comics” Category
Hereville Volume 1 – How Mirka Got Her Sword
By Barry Deutsch
Published by Amulet
“Spunky, strong-willed, eleven-year-old Mirka Hirschberg isn’t interested in knitting lessons from her step-mother, or how-to-find-a-husband advice from her sister, or you-better-not warnings from her brother. There’s only one thing she does want: to fight dragons!
Granted, no dragons have been breathing fire around Hereville, the Orthodox Jewish community where Mirka lives, but that doesn’t stop the plucky girl from honing her skills. She fearlessly stands up to local bullies. She battles a very large, very menacing pig. And she boldly accepts a challenge from a mysterious witch, a challenge that could bring Mirka her heart’s desire: a dragon-slaying sword! All she has to do is find – and outwit – the giant troll who’s got it!”
Alfie – Year 5
Hereville is a graphic novel about a 11 year old orthodox Jewish girl called Mirka who wants to be a hero, a dragon slayer.
All of her friends talk about the wild rumours of the local flying lady – everyone thinks she’s a witch.
As Mirka is an Orthdox Jew she’s banned from eating pork, and because she lives in an orthodox Jewish village she doesn’t even know what a pig looks like! To her a pig was a horrible, evil monster so she was scared when she saw one.
Worse still – the pig she sees is no ordinary pig – it could talk! The pig threatens her for taking one grape from his garden….
All her friends laugh at her because the evil talking pig kept stealing her homework just to cause trouble. But then it got worse when the pig set her up by trampling Mirka’s stepmother Fruma’s flower patch and leaving one of Mirka’s shoes behind.
This was the final straw for Mirka, After that she tells Frumer about the witch and that’s when she gets sent to her room and in the middle of the night she gets up and goes to fight the troll.
I thought it was interesting because it’s full of adventure especially when she wins the sword. I thought it would be a good book for a person who likes adventures, because I liked it and normally I don’t read adventure books.
Finn - Year 5
I enjoyed Hereville. It was funny and a bit strange!
The best bit was when Mirka was getting hunted by a pig because she picked an apple from the pig’s garden but the pig adored the grapes. The funniest bit was when the troll wanted to fight Mirka with knitting because I thought they were going to fight with swords.
The strangest bits was when Mirka was walking to school and she came across a house and she saw a witch floating next to her tree and the witch was cutting it.
Find out more about Hereville at the website for the book, including a preview of this and the next book!
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by Andi Watson
Published by Walker Books
Review by Mae (Year 5)
Grace Gibson, the main character, lives in the town of Catastrophe. Helped by her friend Billy she tackles super-evil, at Calamity Primary school and elsewhere.
One problem, Billy musn’t know she’s super-hero ‘Gum Girl’.
Leading two lives is a difficult buisness so her main problem is tackling them at the same time. As Grace she has to tidy her room, visit the aquarium, and do chores for her pocket money. But on the other hand, as Gum Girl she is always saving Calamity from disaster!
In the first story of the three in “The Tentacles Of Doom” she sends dust bunny rolling down the hill as he is trying to make dust and dirt prevail in Calamity Primary School. At home though she is having tidy-up trouble as her room is a total disaster. Another problem has surfaced as the school caretaker is not doing his job!
The second is just as interesting as Gum Girl has to race against time to save the town from flooding at the Mishap Dam because Octopus Prime is trying to take over Catastrophe.Gum Girl though is not going to let that happen.
In the last story Sick St. Nick gets bitten on the bum by a dog that has been holding a grudge for far too long
The pages that showed it was a fun and funny comic were pages 63 and 64, the last pages of the Sick St. Nick story.Poor Grace has beaten the baddie, but now she needs pocket-money to buy more laboratory equipment as she exploded the last set she had! So she uses her “nitro gum” to clear up a pile of pruned branches in the garden….
The very funniest bit though was her dad’s glasses that go all wonky because of the bang, but when he dashes outside nothing is there… including the branches!
As she said: “It’s no good for chewing but that Nitro Gum can sure clean garden waste!”
The only problem with Gum Girl is the way that the villains are defeated pretty much the same way each time. In the first story all Grace needed to use was her aqua-gum to make the bunny stop in mid-leap, the second story has exactly the same problem, with the gumerang making the whole system shut down. I think it would have been more exciting if it hadn’t worked and she had to get inside the getaway car with Octopus Prime! And in the third story Sick St. Nick is bitten by a dog, which seems too simple.
I would recommend this to any fan of Gum Girl and to comic lovers all over the world! Gum Girl is a great comic and perfect for younger readers.
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SMILE is a graphic novel drawn and writing by RAINA TELGEMEIER.The Raina in the Book is the same person as the author.
It’s about an 11 year old girl called Raina.
When she falls down and knocks out her two front teeth she has to has to go through loads of dental appointments to get her teeth back to normal again.
Raina’s journey starts in Middle school all the way up to high school. Raina’s friends in middle school are horrible by teasing her lots but when she goes to high school she learns true friendship. You will have to read the book to find out about Raina’s friends from detail.
I like Smile because I like the characters and the book. I recommend it 10/10. I hope you enjoy it to.
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Here at Wilberfoss we love, love, love reading, and we’re pleased to announce that we’re taking part in the Read For My School event this year.
It starts on Monday 28th January and runs to 22nd March… see Mrs Mcfetridge or Mr Bruton for more details but all you need to do is sign up at the website using the school code Mrs McFetridge gave you today (but make sure you tell us your user name!).
Read one of the books they recommend OR choose any book or graphic novel from the school library or from home.
Don’t be too worried about those categories either – you’ll be able to fit anything from the school library into one of the categories – just ask Mr Bruton for help if you need it!
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Last week, Rhea from Year 2 wrote a lovely little review of a comic series she’s been reading lately – Babymouse by Jennifer and Matthew Holm.
We got in touch with the author Jennifer Holm, who was ever so impressed with Rhea and wanted to write and tell her so:
Hello from California! I live in Foster City, CA (and my brother Matt lives in Portland, Oregon.)
I was very, very excited to hear from a reader in the UK because when I went to college I spent a year abroad in London. (And because of that my very favorite candies in the entire world are Rowntree’s Fruit Gums.)
It is so thrilling to hear you are enjoying Babymouse. And I loved your review of it on the school website. :-) You’ll have to keep reading them … and be sure to let me know which are your favorite bits.
Maybe one of these days Matt & I will be able to visit England and your school.
–Jenni & Matt Holm
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Rhea in Year 3 has been loving the Babymouse books recently, and has gone through all of the ones we have in the library in quick succession. I caught up with her at the start of the week and asked her to write a little review of the popular series, a perfect mix of super fun stories and fun pink artwork.
This was what she wrote….
What are Babymouse books about? They are very interesting.
Babymouse is so much fun because it’s really interesting, and sometimes it’s funny. I liked the funny bit in Beach Babe where Babymouse and her brother are in the car and he gets sick all over her (pink sick!)
Babymouse has got different things in each one – every time she’s doing something new, and there are different characters in each book. So far I’ve got up to volume 11 when she’s fighting dragons. The art is really good because Babymouse is always pink.
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Posted by: admin in Book Reviews, Comic Reviews, Comics, Library, Year 5, Year 6, tags: Books, Comics, Library, Raina Telgemeier, reviews, Smile
Smile is a wonderful graphic novel by American author Raina Telgemeier. It tells a tale of a young girl who suffers a terrible accident, and loses her two front teeth. It’s the start of a long and painful journey of dentists, braces, surgery, headgear, all to get her smile working properly again.
But, as the boys and girls at school have found out, it’s about so much more than that. It’s one of those books that speaks so clearly to its audience, and everyone reading it finds something of their own lives in its pages; friendship issues, the trials and tribulations of growing up, new schools, and so much more.
It proved so popular in the graphic novel library that Mr Bruton had to buy a second copy, then a third, a fourth, a fifth, and a sixth! It’s the most popular graphic novel in the library, and amongst the top 5 of all loans in the library.
So, with Year 6 leaving us very soon, I thought it would be nice to say a goodbye from our library by collecting their thoughts on the book….
Review by Hazel (Year 6)
Smile is a really good book because it is all about a girl who has to have braces after she loses her two front teeth in a horrible accident. It is a true story and when I read it I could rally believe that everything Raina showed me was completely real. After a while you feel like you get to know Raina and the other people in the book. I started to read Smile and I just couldn’t put it down.
Review by Holly (Year 5)
Smile is a lovely, and true story of Raina’s life, after she loses her two front teeth in an accident. You follow her on a really frustrating (for her) journey with so many different dentist visits, braces, weird headgear, elastics, even a retainer with fake teeth attached! I so loved this book that I couldn’t put it down! It’s amazing!
Review by Lucy (Year 6)
I liked Smile because it shows the reader that life can be full of challenges and difficulties, and my absolute favourite thing about it is that it’s all true, all of these horrible, painful things really happened to Raina. My favourite character is Raina, not just because she’s really brave about her teeth, but because she stands up to her mean friends in High School and finds some better ones. I think Smile gives out a message that tells girls around the world to make a stand and stand up to those who are mean to you, and never be afraid to move on!
Review by Mia (Year 6)
Smile is one of my favourite books! I thought it had a really good story and I liked the illustrations inside. I couldn’t stop reading it when I had started.
Review by Emily (Year 6)
I like the way that Smile is a true story about a problem that many children have to face at some point. I also found it a bit shocking and sad when I read about the accident and what Raina had to go through afterwards. It raises awareness of the problems you can go through if you have to wear braces.
Review by Rosie (Year 6)
Smile is a really good book because the pictures are really clear and detailed. I especially loved it when her friends gave Raina a deliberately horrible makeover! Smile is one of those books you have to read again and again. I have checked out Smile from the school library several times and it is definitely one of my top 3 books. I positively, definitely think Smile should be published in Britain.
Review by Maisie (Year 5)
I really enjoyed the book Smile because it was really good to read, and I was really shocked and upset for Raina when I saw her fall over and knock her teeth out! Ouch!.
Review by Lily (Year 5)
Raina just wants to be a normal girl, but one day after a Girl Scout camping trip, she has a horrible accident that makes her front two teeth come out. The scene where this happens is really exciting and scary, and pretty horrible. I certainly wouldn’t like it to happen to me! She has to have a lot of different braces, with all kinds of attachments, and wires, and bands – and I felt really sorry for her. I loved Smile and thought it was really good and dealt with some common problems in a very thoughtful way.
Review by Nick (Year 5)
It is a very good book and one of the best I’ve read so far. I like it because it’s funny, and it’s interesting to read about all of the problems caused by Raina’s one small trip.
Review by Eady (Year 5)
I really enjoyed Smile because it was funny, and I found myself gigglng many times all the way through reading it. The pictures really stand out and tell Raina’s story really well. I think this is the best book I’ve ever read. My favourite bit is when Raina gets her ears pierced shortly after she gets her first lot of braces. Her mom’s not sure, but Raina convinces her saying that she “didn’t really want the braces… but I want earrings”. It’s great seeing her grow up in the pages of the book, all the way to being a teen and going to High School, she even falls in love for a while!
Review by Kade (Year 5)
I think Smile was a dramatic and thrilling story – they even had an earthquake in it! I think it is a funny story and I’d recommend it to other people to read.
Review by Natalie (Year 5)
I really liked this book because it was funny, sad, and it had a really happy ending. I thought that the pictures have great detail and the book really stands out. As soon as I looked at the front cover I knew it was going to be good. The title is perfect for the book, as we get to see Raina having serious teeth problems all the way through, but at the very end, she feels comfortable with her smile again.
Review by Charlotte (Year 5)
I absolutely love graphic novels, but I’d say Smile is probably one of the best books I have ever read, not just the best graphic novel. It’s very funny all the way through, and my favourite part was the time when her mean friends pulled Raina’s skirt down – very embarrassing, very cruel, but also very funny. But it was all part of the main reason that I enjoyed Smile – the way Raina fights on through all her troubles, and shows us that as long as you believe in yourself and do the right thing you’ll succeed.
Review by Ailie (Year 4)
I think Smile is a very good book. I had it on loan from the library for a long time – but I did read it TWELVE times!! Yes, it’s that good! My favourite part is when Raina makes a new group of friends and has a lot of fun. I felt really sorry for Raina for having to cope with all that treatment for her teeth. It’s the best book I’ve read.
Review by James (Year 6)
Smile is a great graphic novel written by, and starring Raina Telgemeier, who tells us the true story of the time she was racing back to her house (when returning from girl scouts) but falls and knocks her two front teeth out. This is a really enjoyable book that contains lots of mouth surgery, lots of painful dental experiences, and a lot of smiling!
Yes, I think you can say that they all like it! Thanks to everyone for their reviews, especially Year 6! Good luck in your new schools.
And parents, if you do want to treat them to something – you’ll be able to get Smile at any good bookstore, provided they can get books from the US. Because sadly Scholastic UK have decided that books like Smile, Jeff Smith’s Bome, Amulet, and many other great Scholastic US graphic novels with huge popularity in America, aren’t going to be popular enough over in the UK. Hopefully, the glowing reviews of Smile say otherwise.
Raina Telgemier’s second graphic novel is called Drama and will be released in September.
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By Nick Edwards
Review by Emily (Year 6)
I really enjoyed reading Dinopopolous, and think it’s a really clever story with so many twists and turns.
The start is fantastically gripping, and it’s a shock to see what happens to Lancaster Perrifold, famous explorer!
All of the jewels and treasure you’ll see at the end are amazing. I thought the miracle bird was hilarious, and there are many silly little creatures all the way through (and a scary one!)
Review by Lucy (Year 6)
Dinopopolous is all a boy called Nigel, a regular teenage boy … or so you’d think. But Nigel is really a secret detective who solves mysteries that nobody else can be bothered to solve. This story starts with Nigel’s boss handing him another mystery that gets this young adventurer into lots of trouble; involving strange new worlds, fearsome creatures, and dinosaurs.
The main character is Nigel and his best friend/ co-worker, Brian. Brian’s a dinosaur, and he’s my favourite character because he’s a faithful and loyal friend and pet. He also manages to keep Nigel in order!
I like Dinopopolous because it’s bright and cheery even though it’s in black and white. It also has hints of romance, adventure, fantasy, and mystery. However it does get a bit confusing.
I’d give Dinopopolous 9/10 because even though it had a good beginning, near the end it got really confusing. But overall the storyline and graphics were amazing.
Review by James (Year 6)
I thought the book was quite good but at times I didn’t completely understand what was going on in the story.
The main storyline is about a boy going on a quest (with his very friendly pet dinosaur Brian) to find a hidden treasure for his boss.
The boy and the dinosaur have an unearthly adventure looking for “The Miracle Bird Of Ndundoo” and along the way there’s lots of trouble including having to fight off an evil gang of lizards!
….. and here are the first three pages of Dinopopolous – lots of fun!
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The latest in our series of author interviews.
Our intrepid reporters in Year 6 have already asked some brilliant questions in their interviews with John & Patrice Aggs (The Boss interview), James Turner (Super Animal Adventure Squad interview), the Etherington Brothers (Baggage interview), and when they were in Year 5 the same group of pupils interviewed best-selling authors Garth Nix and Sean Williams (Trouble Twisters interview).
Now it’s the turn of the writer of graphic novel Mirabilis to face the questions! Mirabilis is a graphic novel series written by Dave Morris and drawn by Leo Hartas. It’s been very popular in the school library, and received two very good reviews from the two James in Year 6 (reviews here and here).
And both James – we’ll call them James #1 and James #2 here – have teamed up with Dylan to fire the questions this time….
Where did you get the idea for Mirabilis?
How many books will there be altogether in Mirabilis?
How long have you been writing for?
Hello all at Wilberfoss School!
I do apologize for taking a while to answer these questions – I have been completely buried in the deadline for my Frankenstein choose-your-own-adventure type book as well as getting Mirabilis Book 3 ready for printing. Both of which are lousy excuses when the children were kind enough to ask some really great questions, so I’ll get right onto answering those:
Lets start with James (James #1)….
To begin with, the idea for Mirabilis was an image that came to me of Trafalgar Square with people in top hats and long dresses, and overhead a huge green comet filling the sky. Leo and I were talking about it and we started imagining where this comet had come from and why it was so big. We decided it actually passes between the Earth and the Moon on midsummer night, and that it causes everything imaginary to become real. I’ve always loved mythology (especially the Norse gods like Thor and Loki) and science fiction, and astronomy in fact, so I suppose I just mixed that all up and got Mirabilis.
Now you may well ask, “Why is it set in Edwardian times?” And I’m not really sure – that just felt right! It may have something to do with the H G Wells stories that I loved to read as a child, which were mostly set in those days.
We are planning at least eight books in the series. We are breaking the story down into seasons: Winter, Spring, etc. And each season is a self-contained story, but with an ongoing storyline across the whole series that involves what the Kind Gentleman has got planned. (Hint: it’s not good.) Anyway, each season will be at least two volumes, so that’s eight books in all.
I have been writing for nearly 25 years. My first book was called Crypt of the Vampire, and it was illustrated by Leo Hartas, who is the artist on Mirabilis. Leo and I have been friends for a very long time, and his younger son Inigo is my godson.
(Layouts from Mirabilis by Dave Morris – see his answers to Dylan’s questions for details)
(Compare those layouts to the finished page by Leo Hartas)
How was Mirabilis written and drawn – do you work together to write and draw it or is the writing done first and passed onto Leo?
And does Leo make his artwork with paper and pens or is it done on computer?
When you were younger were you into magic and monsters?
And did that influence the characters in Mirabilis?
What sort of books do you think I’d/we’d like if we really enjoyed Mirabilis?
I write the scripts and do layouts – those are rough sketches of what goes in each panel. (I’m attaching one so you can see what I mean.) Prior to that, Leo and I will have talked about the story, but mostly I decide what’s going to happen. Occasionally he’ll suggest something fantastic that could go into a story – the giant baby Gagantua was his idea, and I liked that because it’s the start of Jack seeing the world with new eyes. He’s setting out on a journey and so he is “reborn” in that sense. Leo has very imaginative ideas like that but he leaves the details of the story to me.
Leo starts out drawing in pencil. Then I’ll make comments, such as whether we need to see a character’s expression, and Leo tidies up the pencils based on that feedback. Then he scans it and the inking stage is done on a Wacom tablet. We still call it inking because comics used to go through a pencils and inks stage, but this is digital “ink”, of course :) Then the Photoshop files go off to Nikos, our colourist, who lives in Athens, and he colours everything digitally. At each stage we have a feedback document where I can tell Leo or Nikos if anything needs changing. Leo lives in Somerset, I live in London, and Nikos in Greece, so we need a very tight process to make sure everything is done right.
As I said before, I have always loved mythology, folktales, horror stories, science fiction – all those things. One of the first books I read was Dracula. I was also hugely influenced by Dr Who. When the Dalek movie came out (this is about 45 years ago) I got my Dad to take me to see it four times in one week – and he also took me to the BBC, where he was doing some electronics design work, so I could see the first Dalek they made. (I wrote about that on the Mirabilis blog if you’re interested.)
All of these things have fed into Mirabilis. Well not so much Dr Who, perhaps, because that’s a very specific story, but I think the flavour of Dr Who is there a little bit. I often think of the story as being like a TV show, anyway, partly because we talk about “seasons”. The mythology and fantasy that I love reading certainly inspires the story, though. The only difference I would say is that the characters in Mirabilis aren’t larger-than-life. I wanted Jack to just be an ordinary boy. He isn’t the son of a prince or a demigod or anything. He doesn’t have magic powers. All he has going for him is that he’s plucky and he’s quite smart. So he could be you or me. (He also has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, by the way, which is something I like about him. Being poor in Edwardian times was no fun at all.)
Books you might like… I enjoy all of Marcus Sedgwick’s books (Blood Red Snow White and Revolver especially). Also Wheels of War by Sally Prue, and City of Ember (nothing to do with Jack!) and Mortal Engines, which you’ve probably heard of already. Some older books, if you’re into fantasy, are Jack Vance’s Lyonesse trilogy and Kevin Crossley-Holland’s The Norse Myths. I could probably list about a hundred more books if you like those.
How long does each book take to write and then draw?
Can you tell me a little about what’s going to happen in the rest of the series; will Jack survive?
What’s going to happen to the Devil?
Hello the other James!
We figure on about 7-8 weeks to do a “batch” (which is 25 pages, roughly one chapter). So if we could work on Mirabilis full-time, which is what I’d love to do, then we could do a complete book, ie half a season, in about 8 months. The snag is that Leo has a lot of other books to work on, and I don’t want to write too far ahead as it is important that I discuss my ideas with him and get his feedback. So I think we’re likely to only get one more volume done this year – that’s the first part of the Spring season, which we’re aiming to have out in time for Christmas. But we have already done the second half of Winter, of course, which will be out in a month or two – they have been printed (our printer is in Bosnia) and I’m waiting to see an advance copy any day now. So there will be two Mirabilis books this year, but probably only one next year – unless I can get Leo to speed up.
As for what’s going to happen… You like spoilers, huh? Well, Jack will survive. He’s the hero, we can’t kill him! We like him so much we might even have two of him ;-) And the Kind Gentleman – well, you’re the first person to call him by that other name that he doesn’t like using, well spotted. He has a massive plan that will unfold over all four seasons, something so dark and momentous that it makes Voldemort look like a guy who drops litter and walks on the grass in parks. I can’t tell you the details, it would feel too much like giving the game away, but I can say that we’ll be dropping some hints as the story progresses. And if you look at what Gus tells Jack on top of the train, there are some pretty broad clues there too.
(Mirabilis – Winter Volume 2, out very, very soon!)
I’d like to thank you guys for some very interesting questions.
And now it’s my turn for a question. I think a lot of other Mirabilis readers could be interested in the points you raised, so would you mind if I run your questions and the answers on the blog at some point in the future?
Also to James: thanks again for your review, and your note to me. I put a comment on the Wilberfoss website, so I hope that showed up? (editor note – yes it did – here in fact)
Thanks as usual to Year 6 for asking some great questions, and thanks of course to Dave for agreeing to answer them!
Mirabilis Book 2 is due out very soon, and hopefully we’ll get some preview copies for the library before publication, although something tells me that James, Dylan, and James may well want to read them first!!!
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Mirabilis – Year Of Wonders – Winter
By Dave Morris and Leo Hartas
Review by James (Year 6)
I think that Mirabilis is an amazing book and I like the way it starts as a duel at 20 paces – very, very exciting.
The book is alll about a young boy called Jack Ember and his attempts to get a magical gold coin before his Grandma is killed. It also involves a green comet, that’s flying across the sky and causing all sorts of strange things to happen. I love all of the creatures like the vampires, giant babies and dinosaurs that appear in the book because of the magical comet.
My favourite part is where Miss Bodgkiss is picked up by a Pteranodon (or a Pterodactyl) and taken away!
I love the way that the book finished on a cliffhanger and you have to read on with book 2 to find out what on earth happened to Jack!
My overall rating is 5 out o 5 and I can’t wait until I read part 2!
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