Monday, May 3, 2010

Four for All

Recently I have bought and or borrowed several items that just leap out as being things both kids (young adults) and adults(old adults) can enjoy equally. I will keep it fairly brief.

The Amulet Book Two: The Stonekeeper's Curse , Kazu Kibuishi - Get volume 1: The Stonekeeper, if you haven't read it already. I was very excited to see this book in the library. I had been waiting for it, and new it had come out, and it was finally on the shelf the last time I went. This continues the story of a girl and her younger brother who inherit a powerful magic stone from their grandfather, and find themselves on a quest in a land of magic to save their mother from a deadly poison. The art is beautiful and brilliant, the story and characters are varied and fun, each with personality and depth. The story combines elements that make it reminiscent of other works like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Howl's Moving Castle,Narnia, and many others. A young girl with a good heart and a strong sense of duty to her family is the main character. She is strong willed and resourceful, and although she has some doubts and fears, she does not succumb to the great temptation of the powerful and sentient artifact she possesses. Her brother is separated from her in this book, and put into the role of commander of his own army of strange volunteers from the world they are in. A new character steps forward in the form of a fox who is sort of their Aragorn, a creature they are suspicious of at first, but who later shows himself to be beyond reproach. This is epic fantasy with robots and walking mecha-like houses and evil elves and animal-people and magic stones, talking trees, good versus evil, the works. It is something that could be read to a child, or by a child, or fully enjoyed by adult fans of the genre.

The Good Neighbors, Book 2: Kith - Another volume 2 here. Holly Black is the author and Ted Naifeh is the artist. I love Naifeh's art and this has very much the same sort of feel and similar subject matter of his Courtney Crumrin books, while not being his creation in this case. A teenage girl begins seeing strange things that no-one else seems to see. A world of Fairy and magical folk is suddenly unveiled to her and she doesn't know why. The first book takes us through that, and some mysteries regarding her mother and her creepy grandfather, and uncertainty about her father's actions, etc. The second book continues the story and continues to set her at odds with her grandfather and his plot against the town she lives in, and humans in general. There is a good cast of characters, and I would think that this is a book that Teen fans of supernatural fiction would enjoy. My 16 year old daughter liked it.

The Last Unicorn #1 - My daughters and I love the movie the last unicorn. I loved it long before I ever thought I would be married or have any kids. This comic is a stunningly beautiful adaptation. Not a great deal happens in the first issue(of 6), but the scene is set, and we learn a good bit about the Unicorn, and the world it is in. Honestly, the art sells this one as much as my love of the subject. I set it down then bought it the next time I was in the shop, and both my 10 and 16 year old daughters have read it already and raved about it.

Mercury - Hope Larson. Another fantastic book from Hope Larson. I love this trend of female creators making graphic novels that feature realistic settings and real personalities, with very real seeming young female leads in them, and a touch of the fantastic that does not seem to alarm or surprise anyone all that much. I am calling it a trend, even though in this case I am really just referring to Faith Erin Hicks' War at Ellsmere(also excellent), although not actually comparing the two. Mercury ties together two stories of two different girls across centuries. They share a bloodline, and a common location, and a mysterious piece of jewelry. Both face difficult situations in their own ways, and both encounter strange occurrences without thinking them to be particularly alarming. This is a sweet story with a bit of creepiness to it, and what I would interpret as a fairly happy ending. It is a good size and a great price at 9.99

All of these would be great recommendations for young readers, perhaps female teen readers in particular. I am neither of those things and enjoyed each of these completely. I recommend them in the following order of awesome:(1 being the highest)
1.Amulet
2.Mercury
3.Last Unicorn
4.Good Neighbors