Tag Archives: Roman (author)

Explorer: The Lost Islands Review

explorer_2Explorer: The Lost Islands (Explorer #2) edited by Kazu Kibuishi

Harry N. Abrams, 2013. 978-1-4197-0883-1

Synopsis: Take a journey out onto the ocean to visit one of seven strange, fantastic, mysterious islands created by seven amazing graphic artists. Whether you are there because it is home or because of a shipwreak, this collection is sure to inspire an island adventure of one’s own.

Why I picked it up: I wanted something short and quick to read between longer novels.

Why I finished it: The second installment in the Explorer series doesn’t fail to leave the reader in awe. Fish, rabbits, and humans alike populate the seven graphic stories that take on a wide variety of topics on the same subject of islands. My favorites were “The Mask Dance” by Chrystin Garland and “Loah” by Michael Gagné. I loved Garland’s story because it reminded me of an island festival or a Day of the Dead celebration that takes a somewhat frightening turn. Gagné’s story was both visually stunning and compelling, telling a story that is a version of “The Rainbow Fish” but where the titular fish is less selfish. This collection still has the same elements of the fantastic as the previous book and even manages to up the bar. There truly is something for everyone in these collections and I excited to read more!

Other related materials: The Lost Islands (Explorer #2) edited by Kazu Kibuishi; The Hidden Doors (Explorer #3) edited by Kazu Kibuishi; Flight Explorer edited by Kazu Kibuishi Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi; Copper by Kazu Kibuishi; The Legend of Korra graphic novels  by Michael Dante DiMartino, illustrated Irene Koh; Zita the Spacegirl series by Ben Hatke; Mighty Jack series by Ben Hatke; Missle Mouse books by Jake Parker; Bad Island by Doug TenNapel; Cardboard by Doug TenNapel; Bone series by Jeff Smith

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Explorer: The Mystery Boxes

explorer_1Explorer: The Mystery Boxes edited by Kazu Kibuishi

Harry N. Abrams, 2012. 978-1419700095

Synopsis: Funny, fantastic, spooky, and suspenseful, each of these unique and beautifully illustrated short graphic works revolves around a central theme: a mysterious box and the marvels—or mayhem—inside. Artists include middle school favorites Kazu Kibuishi, Raina Telgemeier (Smile), and Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy), as well as Jason Caffoe, Stuart Livingston, Johane Matte, Rad Sechrist (all contributors to the groundbreaking comics anthology series Flight), and upcoming artist Emily Carroll. – from Amazon.com

Why I picked it up: I love a good anthology of short stories.

Why I finished it: What I love about short stories is that the author/artist only has a few pages to craft a complete universe with well-rounded characters and an engaging plot. The storytellers in this collection take the theme of mystery boxes and make it their own. All of the stories have a distinct fantasy and mythology feel that will take the reader into outer space, magical lands filled with strange monsters, and even into the kitchen with crazy superstitious grandmothers. Carroll’s story is arguably the creepiest (for me, anyway), creating a mash-up between a traditional and modern ghost story that had chills going down my spine. Most of the rest of the stories have a lighter feel to them, though they are no less dramatic. I appreciated the differences in the art and storytelling styles because it gives the reader a wider spectrum of material to enjoy. Kibuishi has put together a fun and engaging collection of stories and I am eager to read the other books to see what other author/illustrators I might need to check out.

Other related materials: The Lost Islands (Explorer #2) edited by Kazu Kibuishi; The Hidden Doors (Explorer #3) edited by Kazu Kibuishi; Flight Explorer edited by Kazu Kibuishi Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi; Copper by Kazu Kibuishi; The Legend of Korra graphic novels  by Michael Dante DiMartino, illustrated Irene Koh; Zita the Spacegirl series by Ben Hatke; Mighty Jack series by Ben Hatke; Missle Mouse books by Jake Parker; Bad Island by Doug TenNapel; Cardboard by Doug TenNapel; Bone series by Jeff Smith

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Teen Boat!: The Race for Boatlantis Review

TeenBoat2cover_fnl2.jpgTeen Boat!: The Race for Boatlantis by Dave Roman and John Green

Clarion Books, 2015. 978-0547865638

Synopsis: Teen Boat and his friends are back, this time in an epic competition of nautical proportions. When the Principal announces that a highly prestigious boat race is being reinstated, Teen Boat is determined to win the prize – especially after he learns that the trophy could lead him to a place called Boatlantis where boats determine the hierarchy. Sounds like the perfect place for a half boy/half boat, but is Boatlantis where Teen Boat really belongs?

Why I picked it up: I met Roman and Green at a library convention where they were promoting The Race for Boatlantis and they told me to read the first one before I picked up the second – so I did.

Why I finished it: If you keep some track of this blog, you know that I have a tendency – through no fault of my own – to jump into series without often having read the first book. There’s not a lot of recapping that happens in Boatlantis, so it does behoove you to have read Teen Boat! before you move on to this one. So that’s my little PSA: trust the authors when they say go back to the beginning and don’t just jump in wherever. But I digress. In Teen Boat’s second voyage, we find him still struggling to truly find a place where he belongs. And it is somewhat appropriate that our hero is approaching graduation, about to go off into the world and make a name for himself. The story is filled with pop culture references that add to the humor of the story and help to deepen the characters and in some cases, their relationships. There’s also some origin stories that help to give the reader a little bit more background about how Teen Boat became Teen Boat and the mystery behind Joey’s big secret. It entails that the reader suspend disbelief – that is, if you try to think too much about the logistics, then really you’re taking the story a little too seriously. Mystery, action, and thrills about in this exciting conclusion to the Teen Boat journey, which proves that in both fair and fowl weather, friends will find a way to stick together.

Other related materials: Teen Boat! by Dave Roman and John Green; Astronaut Academy books by Dave Roman; Drama by Raina Telgemeier; Smile by Raina Telgemeier; Sisters by Raina Telgemeier; Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova; Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi; Sidekicks by Dan Santat; Bone series by Jeff Smith; Cardboard by Doug TenNapel; Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel; Cleopatra in Space books by Mike Maihack; Lunch Lady books by Jarrett J. Krosoczka; Lumberjanes books by Noelle Stevenson, Brooke A. Allen, Grace Ellis, and Shannon Watters

TeenBoat2cover_fnl2.jpg

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Teen Boat! Review

teenboat_1Teen Boat! by Dave Roman and John Green

Clarion Books, 2012. 978-0547636696

2004 Ignatz Award Winner for Outstanding Debut Comic (Teen Boat #6: Vote Boat)

Synopsis: Being a teenager is bad enough. Between trying to fit in with the right group at school, finding the right clothes to wear, and dealing with acne, things are pretty complicated. But whatever normal teenagers have to deal with, Teen Boat’s got it worse: not only is he a teenager, he’s a teenager that can turn into a small yacht. In theory: awesome! In reality: maybe not so much.

Why I picked it up: A friend of mine who is a teen librarian loved it and her kids really loved it too.

Why I finished it: This book is totally ridiculous, but totally real. Yeah, people don’t turn into boats, but life is still rough for teens and the sentiment is perfectly captured in this comic. Part after-school special, part Saturday morning cartoon, Teen Boat! takes on some of the hard hitting issues: what to do when you are pressured into being the host boat for a cool kids party, how to maybesortakinda woo the girl of your dreams, dealing with an overprotective best friend, finding a job, learning to drive, even how to handle being boat-jacked by pirates. Okay, so, at least a couple of those things don’t happen every day, but there’s always something similar…except maybe when it comes to the turning into a boat part. The silliness and the humor are part of the charm, and really part of the reason we’re drawn to comics: they are (mostly) chock full of weird circumstances that take us away from reality. Green’s art mimics the sort of Saturday morning style, combining bright colors with thick outlines. It’s a style that lends itself well to the story: quirky without taking itself too seriously. Roman and Green’s combined powers create a magical tale that will take you on a nautical journey through adolescence as you have never seen before!

Other related materials: Teen Boat!: The Race for Boatlantis by Dave Roman and John Green; Astronaut Academy books by Dave Roman; Drama by Raina Telgemeier; Smile by Raina Telgemeier; Sisters by Raina Telgemeier; Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova; Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi; Sidekicks by Dan Santat; Bone series by Jeff Smith; Cardboard by Doug TenNapel; Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel; Cleopatra in Space books by Mike Maihack; Lunch Lady books by Jarrett J. Krosoczka; Lumberjanes books by Noelle Stevenson, Brooke A. Allen, Grace Ellis, and Shannon Watters

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