Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Girl Power Graphic Novels---The Blog Tour

Being asked to participate in the First Second week long event showcasing graphic novels championing female characters is indeed an honor.  During this five day tour twenty sites are offering posts about one or more individual titles or new titles in a current series.  All readers will find something to like about these stories and the lively individuals coming to life within the pages.

Machine parts, candles, Jell-O and desserts are made using molds.  This does not work well when applied to people.  In fact the idiom, they broke the mold, implies uniqueness in characteristics.  Certainly when one follows their passion, building on their gifts, and loves doing this, they have probably stepped outside any predetermined role for them.

In the spring of 2012 readers were introduced to a young girl, a character, who most definitely does not conform to expectations.  She, her brother and best friend burst on the children's literature scene in Giants Beware! (First Second, April 10) written by Jorge Aguirre with illustrations by Rafael Rosado.  The entire crew plus royalty numbering seven returned in Dragons Beware! (First Second, May 12, 2015) written by Jorge Aguirre, illustrations by Rafael Rosado, story by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado and color by John Novak.

The third book, Monsters Beware! (First Second, March 13, 2018) written by Jorge Aguirre, art by Rafael Rosado, story by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado and color by John Novak continues The Chronicles of Claudette with a powerful edge-of-your-seat adventure.  Claudette, her brother Gaston, who loves almost nothing more than cooking and Marie, the daughter of the Marquis who does not want to go to finishing school, are selected to represent Mont Petit Pierre in the Warrior Games due to Claudette's clever and quick thinking.  No one at this time is aware of the extreme danger the entire kingdom is facing.

A long time ago,
in a town not too 
far away . . .
A young girl from the Mountain Citadel
moved to Mont Petit Pierre.

Because of her undeniable battle skills . . .
. . . she was chosen to represent the town
in the elite WARRIOR GAMES, along with a
boy named Augustine and a young marquis.

Gaston is reciting this story of his mother who through saving the lives of the two boys gets Mont Petit Pierre banned from the Warrior Games until now.  What the reader will learn is she married Augustine, Claudette's and Gaston's father, but later was lost.  Eight teams are competing in the games.  All the members of the teams appear to be ready, willing and able except for Gaston and Marie.  Claudette, on the other hand, is brimming with confidence, enough for all three.

Hilarity begins on the first day when instead of battling monsters the event is butter churning. The Marquis's wife has persuaded him to change the events due to their daughter's participation.  As the day closes the mystery begins.  It seems the team from The Great Lakes Kingdom has vanished.  That night Gaston (and readers) witnesses a horror.

The next day during truffle hunting the danger to everyone escalates at top speed.  No one, not even Claudette, believes what Gaston and now Marie have seen.  Evil is lurking under disguise.

A final competition changes everything for the trio after Claudette makes a hard choice.  But oh, readers this is not the end.  The captivating conclusion will leave you breathless and cheering.

From beginning to end, every single conversation, every piece of dialogue, crackles with excitement, humor and the strength of friendship and family (good and evil).  Jorge Aguirre writes with the sure knowledge of his audience weaving his story to reach as many readers (and listeners) as possible.  You can't help but feel as though you have been invited to participate in the tale.  This third book, full of unexpected twists and turns, will find a special place in your heart.  Here is a passage.

Can't you convince the Marquis to pick me for the Warrior Team?
Please, Poppa! Please!!!
I could win the games
for our town.
I'm a winner.
Winning is my 
There are more
important things than
winning, Claudette.

There's also
honor, glory,
and bashing
monsters for
the fun of it.
But winning is 
my main thing.

There's no doubt about the personality of Claudette and her determination to be a champion when you view the front of the cover.  We know evil is lurking in the foreground but we're not sure what (or who) is there yet.  Marie, Gaston and Valiant, the dog, let us know whatever it is; we might want to think about running.  This is what illustrator Rafael Rosado conveys with excellence.

The panels range in size to depict superb pacing.  Sometimes smaller images are placed within a larger picture.  Speech bubbles contribute to the emotions of the characters in each sequence.  Point of view enhances those moods.  We move from humorous to absolute fear in seconds.

One of my favorite illustrations of many is a small panel among four on a single page.  Claudette is looking completely aghast at the fact they are looking for truffles instead of battling monsters.  She is wide-eyed and downcast sitting next to an overturned wooden bucket.  She is leaning on the top.  Valiant is on top next to her arm.  It's her expression which will have readers laughing out loud.  Rafael Rosado is a genius with facial features.

Once you start Monsters Beware! written by Jorge Aguirre with art by Rafael Rosado, story by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado and color by John Novak you won't be able to stop.  These characters and their adventures are like family.  I highly recommend this title and this series for both your professional and personal collections.

To learn more about Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado please visit the series website by following the link embedded in Jorge Aguirre's name.  At the publisher's website you can view interior pages. There are many others links in the blog post about the second book referenced above but this interview at The Beat Comics Culture is not included.

If you thought you might be through with monsters, you are most certainly not. Scarlett Hart: Monster Hunter (First Second, April 3, 2018) written by Marcus Sedgwick with art by Thomas Taylor is about an orphan girl whose famous monster hunter parents were killed in action.  Her problem is she is not allowed by decree of the Royal Academy for the Pursuit and Eradication of Zoological Eccentricities to hunt for monsters.  She is too young.

Midnight . . .
The Academy has announced that another monster is on the loose.

I really think you ought to put your seat belt on, Miss Hart.

Scarlett is riding in a car affectionately called Dorothy with her butler named Napoleon.  He resides with her and Mrs. White the housekeeper and cook at Ravenwood Hall.  They do indeed encounter a monster who favors gulping down humans but before they can nab it and claim the reward, their nemesis, The Count, gets a picture of the monster claiming the kill.  Why didn't Scarlett get it first?  She saves a human child at the scene.

If Scarlett is caught hunting by the Watch (police) they could lose everything.  Does that stop her from hunting or Napoleon from going to T. R. A. P. E. Z. E to get word on the next monster?  It does not.  Each time they track down a monster, they know it could be their last time.

One evening Napoleon mentions a secret book called The Codex Monstrorum which explains why the monsters came.  The story hints it might offer an explanation about Scarlett's parents' deaths.  What Scarlett discovers about the book and the dastardly person who possess it, could spell disaster for their entire city.  There's more than one kind of monster.

Marcus Sedgwick does not disappoint as a graphic novelist.  At his website, a link which is attached to his name, you can access a micro-site for Scarlett Hart Monster Hunter which is wonderful.  Don't miss the site of illustrator Thomas Taylor.  He has lots of links relative to the artwork for this title.  You will be leaping from your seat at seeing some of the scenes.  At the publisher's website you can view interior images. 

This title is full of non-stop action from the first page as a monster gulps down an unsuspecting sailor on the docks and it rarely stops until the surprising ending.  You will read the final word and smile and hope there is a sequel being written.  Readers are going to gobble this up like monsters.

More than half way through The City on the Other Side (First Second, April 24, 2018) written by Mairghread Scott with art by Robin Robinson I can safely say I might stay up all night to finish it.  The time is not long after the huge earthquake in San Francisco on April 18, 1906.  We humans attribute it to scientific causes BUT . . .

There is a war being fought in the land of fairies between the Seelie and the Unseelie Courts.  It is quickly easy to understand why one side needs to win over the other.  It is the timeless battle between good and evil.

A girl, a human, discovers she has the ability to pass through the veil from her world into the realm of fairy.  She is the key to stopping the war.  She has a quest to complete.  She has allies, one unexpected but she also has powerful enemies.

Readers won't want to miss this title.

Please follow the links embedded in the creators' names to access their websites.  At the publisher's website you can view interior images.  Mairghread Scott and Robin Robinson are interviewed at Book Riot, Comicosity, and The Beat Comics Culture


  1. I loved the art in THE CITY ON THE OTHER SIDE, but I'm excited to check out GIANTS BEWARE! for the humor!

    1. Oh Cecelia I am thrilled you enjoyed The City on the Other Side. I know you will love the humor in Giants Beware! All three of those books are great!