Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Babymouse: Beach Babe and Babymouse: Rock Star

Babymouse: Beach Babe and Babymouse: Rock Star by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Previous books in this series reviewed here.

The Plot: Babymouse is the star of this series of graphic novels for younger kids. I adore them, for all the reasons stated in my previous review; most important? Kids love them; and librarians love being able to give a kid a GN that is right for their age.* In Beach Babe, school is out and Babymouse and family are going to the beach for vacation; in Rock Star, Babymouse is back at school with dreams of being a rock star.

The Good: Babymouse has some of the best daydreams, ever.

Beach Babe:

Babymouse's now-famous daydreams continue; here, it's about surfing. And, of course, we have Babymouse's exaggerations: when she cleans out her locker, she discovers all types of things.... including King Tut's sarcophagus. (Note that while this is for younger kids, it has humor like this that assumes the reader will get the reference; such as who is King Tut?) Babymouse also has old cupcakes in her locker, and frankly, I'm disappointed in her; why let good cupcakes go to waste like that??

Beach Babe moves the familiar action away from school and concentrates on family dynamics, especially Babymouse's relationship with her younger brother, Squeak. It's a very realistic portrayal of a sibling relationship, reminding me of Queen Lucy & Skater Boy; especially as they fight, make up, and as Squeak tries desperately to be Babymouse's friend.

Another strength of the Babymouse books is that they are familiar stories; they work because of humor and character. Beach Babe is about a summer vacation, and a lonely, annoying baby brother. No great high drama; except for the drama of every day life that is very familiar to the readers.

Rock Star

My favorite reference here is to the Wizard of Oz: "I guess I'm not in school anymore." Any reader will get that; they probably say it themselves. Some of the references are aimed at older readers; "Tori Amouse." He he. Not to mention that the cover is punk music Babymouse.

Poor Babymouse; loves music but her playing is so awful that a bird falls out of a tree. Babymouse tries; she practices; and she loves what she is doing. Once again, an enjoyable story that reflects the readers lives.

Link: The official website

* Imagine, if you will, the conversation as the 8 year old clutches the YA GN; the parent saying the kid loves comics; and you trying to explain how that book is perfect for teens but not for 8 year olds. But it's comics, the well meaning parent says. Making GNs specifically for the younger crowd is not just good marketing; it's responding to a need. Tied into that is the person of any age staring at a graphic novel and saying "but it doesn't look funny... aren't comics supposed to be funny?"

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