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Unshelved is a webcomic by librarian Gene Ambaum and cartoonist Bill Barnes. Book lovers, librarians, and teachers (that is to say, most of Lerner’s audience) will appreciate this light hearted look at every day life at the library. Every Friday their Unshelved Bookclub reviews a variety of books (there are usually a few graphic novels in attendance). Some of their reviews are delivered in cartoon from. It’s a smart approach, and method I hadn’t seen before.

In a recent review (a non-cartoon one, sadly) they took a closer look at the first volume in On the Case with Holmes and Watson, Sherlock Holmes and a Scandal in Bohemia. Gene Ambaum had this to say:


“Why I picked it up: My nine-year-old daughter loves Encyclopedia Brown and the BBC TV show Sherlock, and I was hoping for an adaptation that was accessible and entertaining.

Why I finished it: It’s both. Rohrbach’s drawings are large, simple, pleasant, and nicely colored, and many look like they might have been block printed. And the adaptation keeps a lot of the plot and tone of the original intact.

I’d give it to: My daughter, along with the next two books in the series. She’s really going to enjoy the way Holmes uses disguises and special effects to thwart the blackmailer.”

Lily Renée, Escape Artist was included in this past Sunday’s Bookshelf in The New York Times Book Review. Reviewer Pamela Paul had this to say:

“This graphic biography, illustrated in a retro comic book style that befits its subject, describes the life of Lily Renée Wilheim, a Jewish Kindertransport refugee who became a graphic artist of superwomen comic books in New York. Raised in a well-off family in Vienna in the ’30s, Lily saw her idyllic childhood descend into one of prejudice, tragedy, Kristallnacht and, finally, escape. This is a smart little biography that will appeal to history buffs, comic book fans and anyone who likes a gutsy, pioneering heroine.”

The theme of the column was “voyages”. Lily Renée was reviewed alongside another graphic novel, Around the World by Matt Phelan. It looks like we’re in good company, I look forward to reading it!

Last week, School Library Journal (Review) published a stellar review of the first two installments of the new Graphic Universe series “Summer Camp Science Mysteries”, Volume 1: In Search of the Fog Zombie and Volume 2: The Nighttime Cabin Thief. These highly readable science themed titles, written by veteran educational author Linda Beauregard and including art by high school biology teacher Der-Shing Helmer, combine loads of reading fun while learning the fundamental principals of science.

School Library Journal writes, “I did enjoy the Summer Camp Science Mysteries…there is something appealingly earnest about them”. The article continued by calling praise to Helmer’s illustrations by saying, The characters are distinctive and the settings believable, even when drawn in a clear, easy to follow cartoon style that is pleasingly bright and colorful”.

The SLJ article also spoke well of the book’s multicultural emphasis by saying, “Volume One: In Search of the Fog Zombie is one of the first graphic novels I’ve read in a long time that has four non-white characters on the cover”.

The review concluded with this affirmation: “Schools can happily add these to their roster of educational graphic novel titles, secure in the knowledge that they will likely spark some scientific curiosity in the children who read them.”

And that sentiment is exactly Graphic Universe’s prime objective.

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