Sunday, August 18, 2013

Two Graphic Novels for Kids

Rust: Visitor in the Field (2011) Royden Lepp
Hardcover, 192 pages
ISBN 9781936393275
Recommended for ages 8 and up

Rust: Visitor in the Field contains some absolutely beautiful images of life on a prairie farm, but before we get to that, we see something not-so-beautiful that occurred 48 years earlier: war. 

The uniforms and weapons resemble those from World War I, but we soon see some mechanical devices that look out-of-place and strange. Very strange.... In an almost wordless 30-page introduction filled with suspense and intrigue, Lepp had me hooked. 

Things slow down a bit when we jump to Taylor’s farm in the present. Young Roman Taylor is trying both to manage the farm and to reconstruct a.... Well, I’ll leave that part for you to discover (as well you should). Assisting Roman is an odd, yet mechanically gifted boy named Jet. I’ll leave that for you to discover as well. 

The entire book is filled with yellow, goldenrod and rust-colored tones that fit perfectly with the old-time mood of the tale. Lepp’s depictions of motion and his action scenes are breathtakingly beautiful, but at times the lack of more varied colors creates confusion as to the detail of people and machinery. Still, this is a nit-pick in an otherwise excellent graphic novel. I am certainly eager to read the next installment, Rust: Secrets of the Cell


10 Little Insects (2009/2012) Davide Cali, Vincent Pianina
Hardcover, 80 pages
ISBN 9780987109910
Recommended for ages 9 and up

This was an odd little graphic novel that looks like a children’s picture book... Our library has it in the J-Fiction section, which is probably appropriate for older kids. The premise, as you might guess, is a riff on Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, only with insects. 

It's goofy, quirky fun but I don't know many kids who would understand the book's vocabulary and subtleties, much less the jokes. Probably teens (who were forced to read the book for school) will get more out of it. I think it’s maybe a tiny bit violent for younger kids, but it is pretty much just goofy fun. Another strike against the book is the size of the panels, which are quite small. They’re not as small as those you’d find in a Tintin collection, but they’re pretty close. Check out a library copy before you buy it for yourself or someone else. 


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