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Review: Volume Two in Four Series

Recently I got in volume two (and three, in one case) of several series. Since volume one of each of them had been reviewed positively here at Good Comics for Kids, I thought I’d take a look at the subsequent volumes to see if the series stayed strong.

One Fine Day, vol. 2
Publisher Age Rating: All Ages; GCFK recommends: Ages 8+, Grades 3+
Yen Press, May 2010, ISBN 978-0-7595-3057-7
164 pages, $10.99

My colleague Lori reviewed volume one of Sirial’s sweet manhwa (Korean comic) series and enjoyed it. I also enjoyed volume one, but I wasn’t sure if the slice-of-life storytelling style would get old in volume two. I’m happy to report that it doesn’t. Readers will still have to have a high tolerance for extreme cuteness, because Sirial’s story is all blushing adorableness. It is all softened, however, by the loose, open panel art style, where the young men are handsome enough to make the title appeal to middle school girls, but the tales are innocent enough for elementary school romantics. Characters are not reintroduced in this volume, so it helps if readers have picked up the first title. But if they liked Sirial’s meandering plot and enjoyed the fairy-dust artwork, then they’ll be eager for this volume to appear on the shelves.

Natsume’s Book of Friends, vol. 2 and 3
Yuki Midorikawa
Age Rating: Teen
Volume 2: April 2010, ISBN 978-1-4215-3244-8
Volume 3: July 2010, ISBN 978-1-4215-3245-5
~200 pages each, $9.99 each

Takashi–a teenage boy who inherited both his grandmother’s ability to see yokai (monsters) and the notebook where she kept their stolen names–began to slowly build connections with other humans in book one (reviewed here at GCFK by me back in February). The next two volumes see Takashi building on those connections, discovering that friendship can come from the yokai also, and learning that he is not alone in his ability to see the yokai. However, not all discoveries are happy ones and just because he shares an ability with another human doesn’t mean that they will also share the same philosophies. Midorikawa’s story is not a flashy one, despite the regular appearance of creepy monsters. She’s focused more on how Takashi relates to the beings around him. Readers who are willing to allow the story to unfold at a slower pace will be rewarded. The continuing beauty of Midorikawa’s pale, sketchy line art is a bonus for fans.

Mr. Badger and Mrs. Fox #2: A Hubbub
Author: Brigitte Luciani; Illustrator: Eve Tharlet
Ages 4-8
Graphic Universe, October 2010
Hdbk: ISBN 978-0-7613-5626-4, 32 pages, $25.26
Pbk: ISBN 978-0-7613-5632-5, 32 pages, $6.95

Mrs. Fox and her daughter Ginger are settling into living with Mr. Badger and his kids…mostly. Ginger worries that her mother has too many kids now to care about her and she doesn’t understand why Mr. Badger is so strict with her. When Ginger’s father comes to visit and when mean cats take over Ginger and the Badger brothers’ clubhouse, will the stress be too much for one little fox to take? With just the right touch of understanding and realism, Luciani and Tharlet continue their sweet series about the troubles of step-family life. (Volume one was originally reviewed here at GCFK by my colleague Kate.) Though the characters are animals, young readers will sense that Ginger and her new stepbrothers share the same concerns they do. Tharlet’s softly painted illustrations glow with life, bringing a gentle humor to Luciani’s storytelling. This series continues to be a terrific choice for librarians and parents looking to address blended families in a way kids will enjoy.

Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye #2: And Then There Were Gnomes
Author: Colleen AF Venable, Illustrator: Stephanie Yue
Ages 8-11, Grades 2-5
Graphic Universe, November 2010
Hdbk: ISBN 978-0-7613-4599-2, 48 pages, $27.93
Pbk: ISBN 978-0-7613-5480-2, 48 pages, $6.95

In volume one (reviewed by me), hamster Hamisher roped guinea pig Sasspants into solving a mystery occurring at their pet shop home. But now that that’s done, Sasspants does not want to be involved with anymore of Hamisher’s problems. Hopefully he can change her mind, since the pet store now appears to be haunted! Venable and Yue’s second outing is as sarcastic and enjoyable as the first. The mystery is not really the point here. Instead, it’s about laughing at the antics of the pet shop owner who doesn’t know anything about animals or chuckling at the mish-mash of personalities that make up the store’s population. Even though Sasspants is obviously the only one with brains, readers will be rooting for Hamisher based on his cheerful, if hyper, personality. Venable takes off right where the previous story left off, so libraries will want to be sure to have volume one on hand as well.

This review is based on a complimentary copies supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © Yen Press, Lerner/Graphic Universe, and VIZ Media LLC.

Snow Wildsmith About Snow Wildsmith

Snow Wildsmith is a writer and former teen librarian. She has served on several committees for the American Library Association/Young Adult Library Services Association, including the 2010 Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She reviews graphic novels for Booklist, ICv2's Guide, No Flying No Tights, and Good Comics for Kids and also writes booktalks and creates recommended reading lists for Ebsco's NoveList database. Currently she is working on her first books, a nonfiction series for teens.

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