I’m a sucker for books with pictures–always have been, always will be. And that’s one of the reasons that I love graphic novels. Because not only do they have pictures, but the pictures play a very important part of the story. Today, I’ve selected five of my recent favorite graphic novel reads, taking them from a variety of genres and age levels. As is always the case, the kids’ books that I’ve recommended can also be read and enjoyed by adults, so I hope you won’t let the age labels prevent you from checking out some truly wonderful stories!
This might be my new favorite. I liked it so much that I read it twice! This medieval fantasy story follows Squire (no other name given), the attendant to the buffoonish Sir Kelton (who does not know his own squire’s name). Sir Kelton is a blowhard who loves nothing more than sharing stories of his adventures, vanquishing giants and sea monsters. The pair arrive at Bridgetown and are shocked to find that there’s no bridge and really not much of a town. The inhabitants have been living in hiding, ever since a dragon attacked and destroyed the bridge. Sir Kelton of course is quick to volunteer, leaving Squire behind. And while he waits for his master (who appears to not be coming back) Squire suspects that there’s more at work than just a dragon here–the town itself might be cursed. But, what good can one young boy do? Especially one with no training and little support from the town? This book was funny, creative, and full of heart. And I loved the characters. Whether you’re a diehard fantasy fan or just looking to muddle into the genre, everyone loves a good dragon story!
Are you looking for something spooky to tide you over until Halloween? Do you enjoy short stories? Then this is the book for you! Eerie Tales from the School of Screams is a tantalizing horror anthology set in a grade school. Each student is called to the front of the class to take turns telling the scariest story that they can. And each story in the book is one of the tales that the classmates share. All of the stories have just the right amount of chills. And since they are written for a younger audience, there is never any worry about them being too scary (but also not so tame that adults will be bored). That being said, this is solidly middle grade, so younger readers (or those more easily frightened) might not enjoy this collection.
My favorite story was “The Village that Vanished,” where a pair of census takers go to investigate a village that has not been paying taxes–only to find one isolated house and a cheerful old man with a chain around his ankle, restricting him to the house. I won’t say anything else about it, so you’ll have to read it to find out what’s going on.
I always love having an interesting dream. I love to tell people about my dreams. I love to hear about theirs. So, when I heard that Roz Chast (I had loved her previous book Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant) had a book about dreams, well, I just had to get my hands on it! This book is absolutely hilarious (if you’re the kind of person who enjoys hearing about dreams–the crazier the better!) Chast basically takes the reader through a selection of her strangest dreams, and like any real dream, there is no real rhyme or reason to the plot-lines and no real resolution. It’s just a really strange collection of stories that had me laughing so hard that I cried!
As a general rule, I really try not to recommend books that are brand new or that are still on order, since there are so many excellent titles that have been in the collection longer and deserve their day in the sun. That being said, I read an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book back in April, and I’ve been waiting to talk about it ever since! So, if you’re reading this blog post before October 25, 2023, then be sure to put this hilarious read on hold!
Have you ever read “The Monkey’s Paw”? This is a classic short horror story about a family who is given a dried up little monkey paw that’s said to grant wishes. But, the wishes don’t go exactly as planned, and subsequent attempts to undo the damage the wishes have caused only makes things worse. But, Erin, why are you telling us this? Because this next installment on the list is something of a monkey’s paw, too. In a world where wishes can be kept in bottles and traded as physical commodities, those who can afford 1st class wishes (the best and most powerful kind) can essentially get whatever their hearts desire, while the poor can only afford volatile 3rd class wishes, that often backfire on their owners (for example, a wish to lose weight might result in a perfectly healthy limb falling off–now you’re lighter). The book is divided up into three stories, following three different characters: a young widow, a depressed teen, and an aging shop owner who is looking to sell three 1st class wishes. Beautifully illustrated, shocking, and emotional, this is a fascinating book that you’ll have trouble putting down.