GN Inspection: Calamity Jack

GN Inspection: Calamity JackCalamity Jack by Dean Hale, Shannon Hale
Release Date: Jan. 2010
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Pages: 144
Source: KidzBookBlog

Welcome back to the Old Wild West with a twist of fairy tale magic. Calamity Jack picks up where the Hales left us after Rapunzel's Revenge, but this time the story belongs to Jack. After running away after the whole beanstalk incident, Jack's decided to return home with Rapunzel (and her trusty braids). Hoping to right previous mistakes, he never imagined he'd come back to find his beloved city taken over by evil giants. Unable to run anymore, Jack must find a way to out-smart the giants and return the city to the people who live there. With a little help from Rapunzel, a pixie, and guy with odd inventions, he may just be able to turn himself from a criminal mastermind to a beloved hero.

The Short of It: Two big thumbs up. Calamity Jack is easily added onto my list of favorite graphic novels. I’m thrilled to be able to continue to rave about the greatness of this series.

Story: I was so excited to get the opportunity to be on this tour, but I was a little afraid it wouldn’t live up to Rapunzel’s Revenge greatness. I realize now how foolish it was to doubt and can say safely that it was good as I hoped for. The Hales successful deliver another unique story that’s full of fun and adventure. I adore how they can take a beloved fairy tale/story and twist it into something new. While I felt like this was the Jack I had known and loved, the Hales managed to breath new life into the character. I don’t know if I ever felt Jack so fleshed out before. And really, the only thing I have left to say is I certainly hope this is not the last we see of Jack and Rapunzel. I’m quite anxious to see what other adventures their future may hold.

Illustrations: Again Nathan Hale manages to bring this world alive with beautiful pictures. Admittedly, it’s been about a year since I’ve read Rapunzel’s Revenge, but I don’t remember the level of detail that was included in Calamity Jack. I’ve found myself going back through several times just to look at the illustrations. (And I suppose I should mention that I’m the type who usually ignores illustrations because I struggle with paying attention to both). I simply cannot wait for the finished copy to come into the library so I can look through it again with full-color(the arc only had B&W illustrations). I have a feeling that the color is going to take the illustrations to a whole new level and I’m excited to see if my intuition is right.

Librarian Mode: Rapunzel’s Revenge/Calamity Jack is great for those first time, non-graphic novel loving readers. The story is easy to follow, but exciting enough to keep one entertained, especially with the full-color illustrations. I think Calamity Jack may gear a little more towards boys, who will love all the action/fighting. Girls may be a harder sell, especially if they don’t like graphic novels, but if they give it a try they may just like it.

To check out the rest of the tour, see the links below:

My Own Little Corner of the World
Book Blather
Book Crumbs
Abby (the) Librarian
Dolce Bellezza
The Book Cellar
Carrie’s YA Bookshelf
Bookshelf Monstrosity
Everyday Reading
Frenetic Reader
Sally Apokedak
Reading is my Superpower
Through the Looking Glass Book Review
Booking Mama
Cafe of Dreams
Becky’s Book Reviews
The Hungry Readers
The Friendly Book Nook
Maw Books

Mini Reviews

I’ve decided it’s simply not possible to catch up with ALL my reviews. However, I don’t want to forget about them completely either. Instead, I’ll be doing mini-reviews to help get me up to date.

Mini ReviewsDoes this Book Make Me Look Fat? by Marissa Walsh
Release Date: 2008
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pages: 215

Authors such as Coe Booth, Daniel Pinkwater, Ellen Hopkins, Sarra Manning, and Barry Lyga tackle tough issues regarding body image. This includes anything from weight, height, eating too much or too little, being too chesty or too flat, or the size of one’s butt.  The style varies from author to author as some decide to express their own struggles in personal essays while other explore through story form. There were a couple stories that I didn’t really like, but overall, this book contains a good collection of thoughts that are witty, touching, and creative. A great way for authors and readers to connect over issues we all share.

Mini ReviewsThe Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Series: The Books of Bayern #1
Release Date: 2003
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 383

Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, has never been able to find her footing among her court and kingdom. Her gift of speaking does not rest with people, but among animals. Sent away to marry a neighboring prince, Ani finds herself helpless and alone after her lady-in-waiting tries to kill her and takes her place. Unable to admit who she is, Ani becomes the goose girl for the king to survive. Will she ever be able to reclaim her identity or will she be a goose girl forever? This is wonderful retelling of the Grimm Brothers Goose Girl. Ani is strong character with a lot of spunk and courage. There were a couple of parts that felt like they dragged a little, but nothing that made me bored or took away from the book.

Book Review: Princess Academy

Book Review: Princess AcademyPrincess Academy by Shannon Hale
Series: Princess Academy #1
Release Date: 2005
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Pages: 336

Mount Eskel is known for one thing; mining precious blocks of stone called Linder. Imagine everyone’s shock when the king’s priests name Mount Eskel as the home of the next princess. Surely, the lowlanders must be playing a joke on them. However, they soon find it is no joke as every eligible female is herded off to an academy to learn how to be a “proper princess”.

Miri is one of these girls. Thanks to her small statue her father has never allowed her to step inside the quarry. She has spent most of her life feeling like a burden…someone who can’t pull her own weight because of this decision. When the academy first starts, she fights against the harsh governess and her cruel tactics to keep them in line. But when a beautiful gown and first dance is promised to the head of the class, Miri finally sees her chance to make a difference. If the prince can just pick her, maybe, just maybe, she can help improve life on Mount Eskel. Of course, Miri never imagined that the stuff she would learn to be a princess could be used to reshape life at home, even without the prince. Soon, she finds herself torn between wanting to being chosen and reinventing her village. Will the prince discover that Miri is the one…if so, can she really leave the mountain that she loves so dearly?

So first off, don’t pick up this book late at night. Otherwise, you’ll end up reading until 2 am because you simply cannot put it down. Princess Academy has easily made its way to the top of my favorite list. While at first glance, it may not seem like a book for boy, I believe there is still enough action that they could like it. In fact, one of the reasons I liked the book so much is because there is a little of something for everyone; there’s action, romance, and intelligence. Hale does a nice job showing that women can be strong, no matter what there size may be. Not only does little Miri show this through intelligence but it can be seen in others through strength and wisdom. Although I was able to pick who would be chosen, I wasn’t able to guess the reasons why. It was a nice little twist and sock to the rigid rules that royalty can have. (Or I’m just a hopeless romantic and like seeing love win.)