Books in Unusual Formats - June 2014
Selected and annotated by Emily Bayci
Bertozzi, Nick. Lewis & Clark. First Second/Roaring Brook, 2011. 140p. Gr. 6-10.
This well-researched piece of historical fiction follows Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their famous expedition to find a passageway to the Pacific in 1804. Bertozzi examines their journey with both humor and accuracy in this tightly packed graphic novel.
Corral, Rodrigo. Chopsticks. Razorbill, 2012. 272p, Gr. 9-12.
Glory and Francisco’s love story is told through photographs, newspaper clippings, letters, screen shots and everyday odds and ends. Narrative clues are spread throughout the book to depict the emotional drama of the duo’s romance.
Flowers, Arthur. I See the Promised Land: A Life of Martin Luther King Jr. illus. by Manu Chitrrakar. Groundwood, 2013. 156p. Gr. 9 and up.
This unique biography of Martin Luther King Jr. is a graphic-novel-style blended text that combines Patua scroll narrative techniques with a griot’s voice to give background to the an important Civil Rights hero. The one-of-a-kind design of bright colors, thick outlines and crisp boxes with quotes and text make it a history like no other.
Hayes, Geoffrey. Patrick in A Teddy Bear’s Picnic and Other Stories. Toon/Candlewick, 2011. 32p. Gr. 1–2.
Join Patrick Bear, in this collection of four comics-style, easy-reader short stories, as he goes on a picnic with Ma, takes a “nap” or two, and deals with a bully. Early readers will identify with the curious, silly, and candid Patrick and his authentic everyday experiences.
Herrick, Steven. Kissing Annabel: Love, Ghosts, & Facial Hair and a Place Like This. Simon Pulse, 2009. 137p. Gr. 7-10.
Two stories have been brought together to create one cohesive story about Jack and Annabel’s journey through grief and self-discovery. Long free-verse poems and rich language make this unique book a compelling read.
Horacek, Peter. Animal Opposites. Candlewick, 2013. 20p. 2-4 yrs.
Mixed media illustrations and pop-up elements depict pairs of oppositional adjectives to describe exciting animals. The pop-up pictures can be used with a group or one-on-one environment.
Mateo, José Manuel. Migrant. Abrams, 2014. 22p. 5-8.
An accordion-folded codex of amate paper, printed on both sides with a single panel illustration and bilingual text, this unique book features a young narrator whose family leaves the land they farm in Mexico for L.A., avoiding immigration officers to end up in a bewildering new place.
Ness, Patrick. A Monster Calls: A Novel; illus. by Jim Kay. Candlewick, 2011. 206p. Gr. 6-9.
A young boy, Conor, is plagued with nightmares after his mother fell ill with cancer. It gets worse when a treelike monster drags him from his bed to attend to business. Dark, monochromatic illustrations bring Conor’s inner chaos to life in this illuminated novel that has won awards for both text and art.
Picard, Matthias. Jim Curious; A Voyage to the Heart of the Sea; illus. by Matthias Picard. Abrams, 2014. 48p. Gr. 2-4.
The 3-D sensation takes book form as a character dives away from 2-D land to explore a whole new world of an undersea city, tunnels, and hatchways. 3-D glasses are used in this adventure of full-spread scenes, panels, and black-and-white cartoon art.
Roth, Susan L. Parrots Over Puerto Rico. Lee & Low, 2013. 44p. 5-9 yrs.
The history of the Puerto Rican parrot is depicted in this cross-disciplinary picture book. The vertically printed book has paper and fabric collage illustrations, which are displayed above the text, which explains the dramatic unfolding of events on the islands.
Schwarz, Viviane. There Are No Cats in this Book! Candlewick, 2010. 28p, 3-6 yrs.
Similar to the book’s prequel, this story explores the conceit of book-bound cats interacting with the reader. A trio of cats is illustrated—and can be played with—through foldout and popup pages, with bright colors, watercolor hues, and layered paper collage artwork.
Scieszka, Jon. Battle Bunny. Simon, 2013. 32p. Gr. 1-3.
In this metafictive adventure, Alex hijacks a story about Birthday Bunny on his special day and turns it into a battle between a supervillain—the Battle Bunny—and his enemies in the forest . . . who in the original story are simply planning a surprise party.
Seeger, Laura Vaccaro. What If? Porter/Roaring Brook, 2010. 32p. 3-6 yrs.
This nearly wordless picture book invites readers to explore the concept of including others through several imaginative scenes involving three seals and a beach ball. The story depicts different possibilities about what could happen in the hypothetical beach situation.
Selznick, Brian. Wonderstruck: A Novel in Words and Pictures. Scholastic, 2011. 640p, Gr. 5-8.
After losing both his mother and his hearing, Ben leaves his Minnesota home in 1977 to search for his long lost father in New York City. There, he meets Rose, who is looking for the missing piece in her life and has been since the 1920s. Ben’s story is told in words and Rose’s in pictures, until they meet in a more traditional graphic form, in this illuminated novel.
Sturm, James. Adventures in Cartooning; written and illus. by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Fredrick-Frost. Center for Cartoon Studies/First Second/Roaring Brook, 2009. 109p. Gr. 2-5.
A princess enlists the help of the Magic Cartooning Elf to make sure her comic writing skills are up to par. She creates a tale of a knight taking on a dragon. Written in comic book form, the book informs readers about technical aspects of comics and graphic novels.