: Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball
: Laura Ellen Anderson
: Children’s Fiction
: Egmont UK
: 5th of October 2017
Synopsis:Welcome to the world of Nocturnia, where darkness reigns supreme, glitter is terrifying, and unicorns are the stuff of nightmares! Amelia Fang would much rather hang out with her pet pumpkin Squashy and her friends Florence the yeti and Grimaldi the reaper than dance at her parents’ annual Barbaric Ball.
When the King’s spoiled son Tangine captures Squashy, Amelia and her friends must escape the party to plan a daring rescue. In their race against time, they being to realize things in Nocturnia may not be quite what they seem… Join Amelia on her very first adventure. She won’t bite!
In Nocturnia everything sparkly, fluffy and cute is considered terrifying, which is a great premise for a comical book about nocturnal creatures. This premise intrigued me to pick up this book for my autumn reading roll. This book was fun and easy to read, but on certain topics it did disappoint.
One of the disappointing part of this book was the absentee parenting trope which tends to be a viral infection in literature for children. I understand the need for absentee parents, and it can be done well, like in Coraline by Neil Gaiman. In Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball the absentee parenting troupe was borderline neglect, the mother is insanely self-absorbed caring more for her looks and her social status before her daughter. At one point the mother gives away her favorite chair and Amelia’s pet pumping away to the kings spoiled-rotten son. when Amelia refuses she is told not to cause a scene and sent to her room. The father seems to be more concerned about his crossword puzzles than his family and is a stereotypical never-in-the-kitchen male. This is empathized by Amelia’s bafflement over the first time her father put a teacup in the sink on his own. In our day and time where social norms and gender-roles are being challenged, reverting back to stereotypes in children’s fictions will not help us grow a new generation with good and open values.
The bottom line regarding this issue is that I think this story had a lot of unexplored potential.
That aside I found the illustrations in this book nothing short of amazing. They are simple and very cute, and they do their job well of complimenting the story and it’s themes.
Another good point about this book is the humor, which is at some points a little over the top hilarious with words like “darklings” and “diephone” and so on and so forth. In the beginning I found the puns a little annoying, but as I read on I go used to them. I can imagine that the humor will be just the perfect cup of tea for it’s intended audience (which is middle grade), but as an adult reader it took me a while to get used to them.
This book can easily be compared to the Hotel Transylvania movies with it’s vitty language and puns, and I think they are reaching for the same type of audience. And I only wish that Amelia’s parents would have taken a tiny straw out of daddy Count Dracula’s overprotective parenting book.
Posted in Book Reviews, Children's Fiction, Comic & Graphic Novels, Comic Books
Tagged Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball, book review, book reviews, Children's Fiction, Egmont UK, Laura Ellen Anderson, Middle Grade, nocturnia
: Ink in Water
: Lacy J. Davis & Jim Kettner
: Biographies & Memoirs , Comics & Graphic Novels
: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
: 1st of October 2017
Synopsis: At once punk rock and poignant, Ink in Water is the visceral and groundbreaking graphic memoir of a young woman’s devastating struggle with negative body image and eating disorders, and how she rose above her own destructive behaviors and feelings of inadequacy to live a life of strength and empowerment.
As much as I wanted to enjoy this book and get carried a way with it, it took me a very long time to get into the story. The narrative is very straight forward with little distracting decor and it was supposed to be a touching story. Or, I thought it would be a touching story, instead it was a hard and gritty narrative of a very real battle with mental illness.
The rawness of the narrative and the very relateable additional issues that often tag along with mental illness made this book very hard for me to read. The story convey in a very real and hard way how mental illness can be there even if you are obviously unaware of it for a while.
IT shows how, even when you know you are sick, the biggest challenge of the battle is not the disease itself but recovery part. Mental health issues, like eating disorders, depression, OCD, they become a part of you and who you are. The disease become part of how you see yourself and you identity, and how are you supposed to recover from your identity?
Davis goes all the way out to show how real her struggle was and she is in not painting any rainbows or making any face-saving promises or painting rainbows. Yet her strong narrative still warrants hope and I would recommend the book for anyone who knows someone or themselves struggle with an eating disorder.
Kettner’s gritty artwork throughout the novel aids to the harsh narrative without sugar-coating anything. Nothing in a story like this needs sugar-coating, even if it makes the story harder to read, and both the author and the illustrator knows this.
Posted in Autobiographies/Biographies, Book Reviews, Comic & Graphic Novels, Comic Books, memoir
Tagged Anorexia, autobiography, book review, book reviews, bulimia, Comic & Graphic Novels, comic book, Eating disorder, Mental Health, mental illness
: Oddly Normal Vol. I
: Otis Frampton
: Diamond Book Distributors
Meet Oddly Normal, a ten-year-old girl with pointed ears and green hair — a half-witch who will be the first to tell you that having a mother from a magical land called Fignation and a father from Earth doesn’t make it easy to make friends at school!
Oddly Normal is the narrator and title character of the book. Half witch and half human she struggles to fit into the world. At her birthday after being annoyed with her mother and father she wishes for them to disappear, and they do. In order to stay safe Oddly has to go to Fignation with her mother’s sister.
In Fignation Oddly struggles to fit in on her new school filled with mythical creatures. and new bullies while her aunt ponder on how Oddly’s parents disappeared and how to get them back.
I very much enjoyed this story. Oddly was a fun character and the story progression was good. It did not throw in too much too early, and things were slowly explained. I look forward to future installments in the series, and I hope that Oddly will stay in Fignation for a while in order to explore this “unexplainable” world. In addition to the story I though the artwork was imaginative and interesting.
Author: Federico Bertolucci
Amazon.co.uk || Waterstones.com
I loved this book. There are no words, but the images tells the story perfectly. The story of the unforgiving jungle is both beautiful and sad.
The images provokes my imaginations and I could hear the sound of the jungle, the fighting for food and the fight for survival. Even with the lack of words I feared for the life of both hunter and prey, and the book presented a moral question in whether or not it is necessary to kill to survive. In nature it is “Kill or be killed, eat or be eaten” and the end of the story proves that humans are also included in the jungles dietary system.
And though I am feeling for all the animals in this book I also can’t help myself but to feel for the Tiger as well. I wish for the tiger to find food, but I also wish for the prey to get away and survive.