{comic} a secret worth sharing

Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes First Second, 2015 My copy was an Advanced Readers Copy thanks to First Second & NetGalley Welcome to Stately Academy, a school which is just crawling with mysteries to be solved! The founder of the school left many clues and puzzles to challenge his enterprising students….

{book} not in the least beastly or dreadful

Months later (deep, regret-filled sigh) a post on one of my favorite new books. “A marvelously funny mystery that feels refreshingly original while yet channeling the best of Dahl’s characters and Grimm in storytelling.”-my staff rec at work. The League of Beastly Dreadfuls by Holly Grant Random House, 2015. Hardcover, 294. Wondering what could possibly…

{book} Jellyfish & Grief & Marvelous Writing

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin Little, Brown & Co., 2015 Advanced Reader’s Copy thanks to Publisher & NetGalley in exchange for a fair/honest review. After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy was a rare jellyfish sting. Retreating into a silent world…

{book} never a nothing girl

Icebreaker by Lian Tanner Feiwel and Friends, 2015 (orig. 2013). Hardcover 304 pages “Twelve-year-old Petrel is an outcast, the lowest of the low on the Oyster, an ancient icebreaker that has been following the same course for three hundred years. In that time, the ship’s crew has forgotten its original purpose and broken into three warring…

{comic} BFFs

Little Robot by Ben Hatke First Second, 2015. Advanced Reader Copy (thank you First Second/Net Galley) in exchange for a fair review. When a little girl finds an adorable robot in the woods, she presses a button and accidentally activates him for the first time. Now, she finally has a friend. But the big, bad…

{book} castle juliet

Castle Juliet: A Fantasy By Brandon Berntson* Self-published, 2013. There are a few editions. Alice and Jacky-boy are ten years old and the best of friends. For a year they embark on fantastic adventures, most born from Jack’s relentless imagination. As each season draws to a close, another one opens, revealing its own timeless magic…

{comics} el deafo

El Deafo by Cece Bell. Amulet Books 2014. Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid…

{comics} no sleeping beauty

The Rise of Aurora West By Paul Pope; J. T. Petty; David Rubín (Illustrator) (First Second Books 2014) tradepaper. Having read Paul Pope’s Battling Boy, naturally I was eager to seek out The Rise of Aurora West. We’d met Aurora West in Battling Boy as the recently orphaned (before our eyes) daughter of Arcopolis’ Science Hero Haggard West. The Rise…

{comic} revealed

Hidden : A Child’s Story of the Holocaust Written by Loïc Dauvillier; Illustrated by Marc Lizano Color by Greg Salsedo; Translated from the French by Alexis Siegel First Second Books, 2014. Ages 6-10; Grades 1-5.  Encouraged to talk about her evident sadness, a grandmother shares her memories long hidden about her experience as a child…

{book} mirrors

Zetta Elliott offered a free copy of her book to interested reviewers. Please do not believe that I proceeded to read and review The Magic Mirror with bias. If you’ve spent any real length of time here on ‘omphaloskepsis’, you know I’m a fair and balanced reviewer, but I felt it should be clarified nonetheless. The Magic…

{comics} many happy returns

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl By Ben Hatke First Second 2014. That the entirety of Ben Hatke’s The Return of Zita the Spacegirl is an epic jailbreak comes as no surprise. From the very first book in the series, Zita has been held against her will—or has she? We know her slip through the portal…

{comics} 15 & Fated

Cleopatra in Space: Target Practice by Mike Maihack Graphix (Scholastic) 2014 Comics you should already have read (and hopefully own) before the middle-grade years hit: Jellaby (Kean Soo), Zita the Spacegirl (Ben Hatke), Amelia Rules! (Jimmy Gownley) and Kazu Kibuishi’s Explorer and Amulet series (still incomplete). I’m obviously only naming a few. And I am being…