Books in Brief: Sequels, Strips, and More
5 Worlds: The Cobalt Prince
By Mark Siegel, Alexis Siegel, Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, and Boya Sun
Random House Graphic
Grades 4 and up
The story picks up where volume 1 left off. Oona is trying to escape the Toki and to find her sister. The girls are eventually reunited, but ultimately many truths are uncovered. Though the concept of the 5 Worlds comes together much more in this volume—volume 1 felt like it was mostly setup—for me, the worlds still don’t really jell. This volume doesn’t at all stand alone. Someone who picks up volume 2 first will be very confused. Yet there is a lot of action and adventure, twists and turns, and an ominous ending that leaves it open to a volume 3. The beautiful artwork, with soft colors and explosive action, really will grip some fantasy readers. If volume 1 is doing well, then it is definitely worth purchasing volume 2.
Geeky F@b 5: It’s Not Rocket Science
By Lucy and Liz Lareau and Ryan Jampole
Grades 3 and up
This is an adorable story of two sisters who move to a new town. When Lucy falls and hurts herself on the playground on the first day, it is shut down because the equipment is deemed unsafe. But there are no plans to build a new one. Lucy teams up with her sister and three new friends, and the girls are empowered to raise $ and design the new playground. The stilted dialogue and somewhat implausible premise is compensated for by the fact that a) the author is a 7th grader b) there is a clear message of girl empowerment and c) the story is geared to young elementary students. The fun illustrations help set the busy, speedy, and bustling pace of the story. This is the first in an expected series.
Wallace the Brave
By Will Henry
Grades 4 and up
Nominated for an Eisner for Best Publication for Kids, this will be a surefire hit with kids who enjoy comic strip collections. The strips follow Wallace, his parents, and his two best friends in the small coastal town of Snug Harbor. The dry humor and funny antics will leave people reading with a familiar feeling. I’d on some level liken the humor to Calvin and Hobbes, though the strips are quite different. A very enjoyable read, and I look forward to adding another collection to my shelf soon.
About Esther Keller
Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. She also curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.
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