Posts Tagged “Comics”
by Raina Telgemeier
Ailie (year 5)
Drama is one of the best books I’ve ever read; it’s perfect with comedy, tragedy and of course drama!
It is about the life of Callie who is part of the stage crew at her school and she has problems with boys and the play that the school are performing.
In this book I have found a lot of things that make me giggle, like the bit where Callie auditions for the part of Maybell in the play Moon over Mississippi but she isn’t very good at singing!
I love the bit where Callie falls in love with Jesse it is so cool. Callie is so clever and she is the one who comes up with most of the ideas for props and other items for the play. I think that Callie is very lucky girl she has a group of fab friends and a cool boyfriend. I hope anybody who reads Drama likes it too!
Emily (Year 7)
Drama is a thrilling graphic novel all about being a teenager. A tale of romance with lots of completely unexpected twists. It is impossible to put down; a brilliant novel of love, heartbreak and friendship.
I really enjoyed reading Drama and once I had picked it up I simple could not put it down until I had finished.
Katy (Year 5)
After reading and enjoying ‘Smile’ I really wanted to read ‘Drama’ by the same fantastic author, Raina Telgemeier.
Drama is about a girl called Callie who goes to high school. She and the stage crew are in charge of putting on a play called ‘Moon Over Mississippi’. Yet, there is drama even before the curtain goes up!! For starters Callie is distracted by Greg who she loves. However, she then meets two brothers, both who are gay, called Justin and Jesse. Callie then takes a liking to Jesse which makes her forget about Greg. All this is happening whilst the stage crew are trying to organise a play, which seems to be going well, until the lead girl won’t come out of the toilets during a performance. That’s when Jesse reveals his hidden talent.
I thought that the book was very enjoyable because I didn’t know what was going to happen next and that made me want to read on. As soon as I read the first couple of pages it was like the book had hypnotised me and made me want to read more and more. I liked the different personalities that the characters possessed and I think that helped to make the story seem more real.
My favourite feature of the book was the artwork; amusing as well as clear. I liked the style of the pictures and I think that helped to make the book more interesting.
Overall I think Drama is an amazing book and I can’t see why anyone would not enjoy it!
Rebecca (Year 5):
Drama is a brilliant book to read because it is funny and it’s very romantic. I like it because it has twists and turns in the chapters. I think Drama is about friendship and how people have to learn to like other people no matter what.
Main character Callie is trying to help organise the school play Moon over Mississippi (she’s part of the stage crew) but lots of things keep coming up!
On the night of the show West (who plays the boy friend in the play) breaks up with Bonnie (who plays the girl friend in the play) and West falls over on stage and hurts his leg. Bonnie finally gets fed up with everyone and goes off in anger and sadness. So some things have to be changed in the play so some people have to fill in. Jesse takes Bonnie’s place and some things get a little bit crazy!
Amy (Year 5):
I think Drama was a great follow on from Smile as it was funny and romantic.
The story line is based on a girl called Callie who likes a boy called Greg but he likes someone else. Callie makes friends with a set of twins who are both gay. Callie’s friend Jesse likes a boy called West and Justin (Jesse’s twin brother) likes Greg. Callie’s bezzie, Liz, falls in love with Justin as well. Complicated!
Callie is also part of a stage crew for ‘Moon over Mississippi’ and that is how Jesse and West meet over a kiss!(Gasp)
I read it in one day because every time I put the book down it was left at a cliff-hanger!!
You have to read it to believe it!
Harry (Year 5)
This book is called Drama, it’s about a girl called Callie, she is in the stage crew and this year they are doing a play. Callie gains lots of experience along the way
I like Drama because she gets nice friends along her journey and still haves lots of fun while making a great play. I also like Drama because there is a lot of drama. I recommend it 10 out of 10!!!
Victoria (Year 5)
Drama is about a girl who goes with her friends and they do a stage crew together in a play.
At the play, she meets two new friends; Jessie and Justin. After a while Jessie, Justin and Callie are hanging out with each other all the time.
Drama’s a really good book and I am really glad I read it.
Beth (Year 5):
Drama is a thrilling and excellent book. Every time I read one page I wanted to turn the page strait after because it was so good. And every time I had turned the page something always surprised me.
I loved how Callie did what she wanted to do and at the end how she finally got to be the stage manager and for that I hope there’s going to be a part two of drama or a book like it because I loved it.
Alex (Year 5)
I wanted to review Drama because it pulled me in and I had already read and enjoyed Smile so I really wanted to read the second book by brilliant author Raina Telgemeier.
When I started the book I just couldn’t stop reading because I enjoyed all of the drama and the drastic stuff.
The book is about a girl called Callie who is part of the stage crew for her school’s play ‘Moon over Mississippi’. She finds two new friends who are twins, both of the twins are gay, one of the brothers signs up for a part in the play.
Callie gets to be the stage manger and she has to sort all the problems with the play including Bonnie locking herself in the cleaner’s cupboard and refusing to come out so a boy had to take her part he looked funny with a long red dress.
Callie has lots of great ideas for the play. I liked the part where the stage crew are getting ready to set the scenes especially when Callie goes over the top with two canons that fire confetti fireworks! The original stage manager thought it was a bit crazy to have two real cannons at the side of the stage but Callie was really determined to make it work.
I really enjoyed Drama and would love to read it again! I loved how the play turned out to be a romantic play, and I especially thought it was romantic when the stage crew created a giant magnolia tree with loads of leaves dropping off it.
I think that the first play went really well because everybody was organised and nobody was upset until West dumped Bonnie.
At the start of the play Callie is really shy and doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life, but by getting involved so much, she starts growing up and believing in herself, so that by the end of the play she knows what she wants to do with her life.
Robyn (Year 5)
I wanted to review Drama because I’ve read Smile and found it really interesting and great fun to read. I like the author Raina Telgemeier because she makes me want to read more.
Drama is all about a teenage girl called Callie who finds out that there’s a school play at her high school put on by the Drama Club.
Callie doesn’t want to be in the play, because she knows that she’s no good at singing so she joins in with the stage crew. There Callie meets two twins who are both gay and she makes friends with them. Callie explains her ideas about things they could do in the play, but she goes a bit over the top – because she wants to have a cannon firing ribbons!
Callie works hard to make the play work well and impress the audience .On her way she bumps into boys who she likes but is determined not to forget all about the play.
I thought the book was very fun to read because it was very funny and I enjoyed how the play managed to turn out. And Drama is also quite romantic.
I liked the character Callie because she was very funny, but smart enough to make the play a success by getting everyone to help and work as a team.
As soon as I opened the book I could not stop reading, its good fun to read and the humour is great.
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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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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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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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Comic Adventures Of Boots
By Satoshi Kitamura
(Here’s the blurb……)
“Three hilarious stories are told in graphic style in this book destined for multiple readings. The first episode finds the charismatic Boots without a place to nap on his usual wall. A bit of ingenuity and some fish biscuits are all he needs to get some room, though his scheme is certain to backfire. The second chapter has Boots enlisting the duck Madam Quark for swimming and flying lessons, with dubious results. And the pièce de résistance comes last in probably the most hilarious game of charades ever played by cats.
The entire book gleams with wit and sublime absurdity and is sure to be a family favorite.”
Here’s a great review by Hannah (Year 3)
This graphic novel – Comic Adventures of Boots is really,really funny. It’s all about a silly cat called Boots and there are three stories in the book.
First there’s a story called “Operation Fish-Biscuit“.
Boots goes outside to sleep on his favourite bit of wall, but 100 cats are already on the wall before him! He has an idea - operation fish-biscuit, where he puts fish biscuits on the top of the garage roof to make the cats move! Leanardo the cat has an idea to make a cat pyramid all the way up the garage roof. But Leonardo goes up first and he eats all the biscuits!!!!
The second story is called “Pleased to meet you Madam Quark“. Boots is walking outside and meets a swan called Madam Quark who teaches him how to swim. Before Madam Quark even steps a tiny bit away Boots asks another question – can she teach him how to fly? It’s very funny when he tries and falls into a bush – Madam Quark cant find him at first but she finds him in the bush upside down.
The third story is called “Lets play a guessing game“. The cats are all bored – too bored even to sleep but Leonardo has an idea to play a guessing game. The cats pretend to be something – Leonardo gave an example the answer was a dog.
All the cats have a go, with some very silly guesses – squirrel, chameleon, pencil sharpener,penguin! Two cats even did a double act, with one cat singing and the other cat being a guitar! And when it’s Boot’s turn he takes the cats to the bathroom and jumps into the full bath! All of the cats guess that he’s a submarine but Boots doesn’t come up for air! When they finally pull him out - he’s got twirly eyes and squirts water! Then they all guess that he’s a fountain!
The Adventures Of Boots is funny, silly and cute, and just the sort of thing I love!
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After Daniel, Ailie, and Emily reviewed (and thoroughly enjoyed – see their review) The Boss, we arranged for some of Year 6 to send John and Patrice Aggs some email questions, just as we did with James Turner and The Etherington Brothers.
Thanks very much to Daniel, Ailie, Emily, Joel, and Rosie for the questions, Lauren at Random House for setting up the interview and of course, thanks to John and Patrice Aggs for taking the time to answer the questions!
(Some of those “tricky things” John Aggs wrote for his mother Patrice Aggs)
Rosie: How long did it take to make the book?
Patrice: It seemed like years. But that was mainly the planning. Once John and I had worked out the storyboard part it was only two or three days per page. Plus a lot of time for arguing about what everything looked like!
John: It took mum ages to draw! This is one of the best parts of being a writer. You write all these tricky things to draw and then you can get someone else to make it look cool!
Daniel: How long did it take to write the book?
Patrice: If you count the months of throwing ideas back and forth….actually John had better answer this one!
John: Oh, this is a tricky one. I don’t sit down and write a whole book at once. There’s a lot of putting it aside and doing something else, then returning to it for fresh ideas. The Boss has been rattling around in my head for a while now, in various forms. I was going to make it a comic for adults, but adults are boring.
Joel: What inspired you to write and draw comics?
Patrice: I started writing and drawing comics when I was four. I can’t remember why — it seemed just as normal a thing to do as eating and sleeping. Haven’t stopped yet.
John: Mum had a LOT of comics when I was small. Now she has even more. You have no idea how many comics there are in her house. Seriously, she should really get rid of some.
(A lesson to all – keep your eyes open and the ideas will come! John Aggs turned a boring stop at a service station into the start of The Boss)
Rosie: How do you come up with the ideas?
Patrice: John is the Ideas Man. I just jump up and down while he’s explaining the story, and say Wow! I can’t wait to draw that!
John: I dunno, I just keep my eyes open. The Boss starts in a horrible motorway service station I was stuck in once. I was watching these two guys and they looked like villains to me. Sometimes a place or a person can spark a whole big story. I get very excited and think it’s awesome, then the next day I realise it was actually a pretty good idea, but a terrible story. That’s when I have to sit down and make it into something worth reading!
Daniel: What inspired The Boss?
Patrice: I think there was a story John made up when he was at school that turned into The Boss. We talked a lot about the idea when we were on a family holiday and I finally persuaded John to write it all down properly so we could make the comic.
John: Yeah, I always liked the idea of a class of schoolkids ALL solving a crime. Books always have a team of five, or three, or seven- because it’s hard to keep track of all the names. In a comic we can have loads, because you just
need to remember what they look like!
Joel: Did you ever fall out whilst working on the book (I know I’d fall out with my mom if I worked with her on anything! (Hi Mom)
Patrice: You be nice to your mom! John is always nice to me (not). We are the kind of people who shout at each other a lot, but that doesn’t mean we fall out! The shouting is really important, because that’s when you get to look at all the ideas and problems from all kinds of different angles. John’s dad and sister are really nice, quiet, non-shouty people, and they just roll their eyes at John and I when we start yelling. I love it.
John: Yeah, we don’t really fall out, but there are lots of erm… “healthy discussions”. Mostly when mum wants to know what a certain character or place should look like and I don’t know what they should look like. We have a bunch of arguments about whose job it is to come up with ideas. This is good, I think!
(The Boss = John Aggs? He says no, his mum says yes!)
Emily & Ailie: Is the Boss based on anyone you know?
Patrice: John IS The Boss. He’s the oldest in our family and spent lots of summer holidays bossing around his young sister and their cousins. I even got him a t-shirt that said “The Boss’ on it! He organised all the family games and theatrical performances. They were called “Cousins Productions”, and the grownups were the audience.
John: Thanks a lot mum. Just for that I’m going to bring up that time you were crowdsurfing at my sister’s punk-rock show. I’m NOT the boss! Whenever I write a boy character mum always draws it as me, aged 12.
Joel: Did you model your characters in The Boss after someone you know?
Patrice: John knew what and who all the characters needed to be, and there’s bits of a lot of people in there. Once I’ve drawn them they become totally real to me, and have lives of their own.
John: Not really. At the writing stage I wanted a different personality for each character. Each character also had to be suited to their crime-solving job. Actually basing characters on real people and getting them to work well in a simple story is really tricky. That said, once they’ve been created for their purpose, the characters grow and change into their own personalities as I write and mum draws. But no, they weren’t based on anyone really.
(The Boss Volume 2 – The mystery of the disappearing dogs perhaps? We all certainly hope so)
Emily and Ailie: Are there going to be any more books about The Boss? – you seem to have set up the possibility with going to make a story about the missing dogs at the end of The Boss?
Patrice: The missing dogs story is a really fast-paced one. All we’ve got to do is find time to finish it. I love drawing dogs. They sometimes have such human expressions on their faces.
John: I have loads more stories for the Boss, and more of the class to introduce! Mum’s right- we need to find the time and convince someone to pay loads of money to print another book!
Daniel: Do you think there might be a series of Boss books?
Patrice: I certainly hope so!! There are so many cool adventures those schoolkids could have!
John: It would be cool. I just remembered that the bad guys in the book were supposed to be working for someone. We left it open for the possibility of an arch-villain behind it all. To be honest I only just remembered that now! I’d just want to write more of the class solving crimes.
Emily & Ailie: Would you think about doing another mystery series?
Patrice: We’re working on one right now! Check out the Phoenix Comic for further news about when it starts. The setting is going to be London, with lots of action.
John: Hey! Shhhh! I’m still writing my next mystery series. It’s a a bit more like a spy story, but still with lots of tailing people and kids doing cool things.
(Not the next series from John and Patrice, but Patrice Aggs does contribute “What Will Happen Next?” to The Phoenix Comic – issue 1 out in January!)
Thanks to the children at school for asking such great questions, thanks to John and Patrice Aggs for answering them, and thanks to all those involved at Random House and The DFC Library for setting these up, especially Lauren Bennett. More interviewing from the children at school in 2012!
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