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There’s no such thing as a bad good review, right?  That is to say, when you get a good review, it’s a gift horse and you shouldn’t spend too much time inspecting its dental work.  I’ve found that too many kid’s lit reviews, especially the positive ones,  sound like sounds bites or back cover copy.  I always appreciate it when a reviewer digs a little deeper.

That’s why I really like the reviews at Good Comics for Kids.  Their reviewers often speak about their relationship with the work, so you can tell the reviews are written by real people.  And their reviews tend to have a higher word count than most, so they can really get into the details.

Katherine Dacey recently reviewed Fish You Were Here for Good Comics For Kids.  Bellow is a short excerpt, though recommend reading the whole review.

“Lerner recommends Fish You Were Here for readers aged seven to eleven and, judging by the vocabulary and syntax, that assessment seems right. Better still, the script manages to be funny and engaging without any objectionable content — a godsend for the librarian or teacher who’s looking for a funny, all-purpose book to recommend to elementary school readers. Recommended.”


Fish You Were Here, the fourth volume of Guinea PIG Pet Shop Private Eye, will hit book stores in September.

Kirkus Reviews ran an early review in their July issue.   Here’s an excerpt:

“…. Venable and Yue’s Pet Shop Private Eye graphic series continues to charm. Yue’s adorable pet-shop fur (and scale) people are just as expressive as their human counterparts, and Venable’s gentle mystery and delightful, dry humor will extend Sasspant’s fanbase. Includes information on goldfish and plecos, as well as a list of animal-related jobs at the back.

Great graphic tales for young readers and animal lovers; long may Sasspants detect!”

I’ve noticed that a lot of people who read this book are excited by the appearance of a new character: Hans the plecostomus.


Plecostomus, or plecos,  originated from South America, just like guinea pigs (no, guinea pigs aren’t from Guinea, nor are they pigs!)  Plecos are actually a type of catfish.  They’re very popular among fish lovers because they keep aquariums clean by eating the algae.  They are sometimes called “sucker fish”, but I think Hans might take offense to this.  As you might guess, he’s a lot smarted than the goldfish in his tank.

According to School Library Journal, if you love Scholastic’s Goosebumps graphic novel series, you’ll love I Love Him to Pieces. Alana Joli Abbott reviewed the book for their July issue.

From her review:
“This is a strong beginning to a series of short teen romances that will later feature a vampire, faerie, and “monster” boyfriend. Readers of R. L. Stine’s “Goosebumps” graphic-novel series (Scholastic) will enjoy this more mature, character-driven horror story.”

Her comment about R.L. Stine made contemplate the author (something I haven’t done since I was 13). In my younger days, I read a lot of R.L. Stine (and his copy cats). The thing I remember most about these books is the way their covers looked. I especially liked the covers with pretty and fashionable teenage girls on them, they looked like the teenager I wanted to be.  I’m 33 now, and did never get that look.  I think it would require a perm, a baggy sweater, and a pair of blue jeans.


This was another Stine cover variant: the still life.  These looked a lot more boring and grown-up, but the books could still be fun.


The third variant I call “on location”, which is even more boring than a still life.  Who thought this was scary?


Maybe today’s teens and tweens will look at the My Boyfriend is a Monster series with a similar fascination.  Happily, they are free of perms and baggy sweaters (but blue jeans are still classic).

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