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The Reading Pile – February 28

It’s a short stack today, for the last day of a short month, but feel free to add your own recent reading in comments.

Kate Dacey: I just started reading a three-volume biography of Joan of Arc, published by the late, lamented ComicsOne. Actually, calling Joan a biography is a little misleading: it’s really the story of a young woman who dresses as a boy, fights in the Hundred Year’s War, and has religious visions. (In Emily/Emil’s case, those visions are of Joan of Arc herself.) One of the series’ most striking aspects is Yoshikazu Yasuhiko’s beautiful, full-color artwork; he made a concerted effort to recreate the period through meticulous rendering of clothes, weapons, and battlegrounds. The other is Yasuhiko’s attention to historical detail. The dialogue sometimes suffers for all Yasuhiko’s research, as the characters often have long discussions about politics and military strategy that kill the story’s momentum. But it’s certainly one of the most ambitious, interesting manga I’ve read in some time, and a notch or three above Penguin’s recent manga biography series. Too bad it’s out of print!

Brigid Alverson: I really enjoyed the latest Geronimo Stilton book, Dinosaurs in Action, in which the Pirate Cats come up with the brilliant idea of sending Professor Volt back to the Cretaceous Period to keep him from continually foiling their plans. Geronimo and the gang follow them and rescue the professor, but not before they have a series of encounters with different dinosaurs. It’s education wrapped in a story, but as dinosaurs are a popular topic with kids anyway, it’s an easy book to like.

Also on my recent reading list is book in the Pet Shop Private Eye series, The Ferret’s A Foot. Colleen AF Venable really knows how to sustain a running joke, and her pet shop, in which all the animals are hilarously misnamed, will provide plenty of giggles for grownups as well as children. In this latest volume, someone is causing consternation by relabeling all the pets with even sillier signs. Suspicion falls on the newest arrivals, the ferrets, but Detective Sasspants is considering all suspects, assisted by his overly eager hamster friend Hamisher. I am really enjoying these books, which mix plenty of humor with super-cute animals.

Brigid Alverson About Brigid Alverson

Brigid Alverson, the editor of the Good Comics for Kids blog, has been reading comics since she was 4. She has an MFA in printmaking and has worked as a book editor and a newspaper reporter; now she is assistant to the mayor of Melrose, Massachusetts. In addition to editing GC4K, she writes about comics and graphic novels at MangaBlog, SLJTeen, Publishers Weekly Comics World, Comic Book Resources, MTV Geek, and Good Brigid is married to a physicist and has two daughters in college, which is why she writes so much. She was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards.

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