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February 4th, 2011

Animal Crackers by Gene Luen Yang

Animal Crackers:

From Booklist

It’s easy to see the seeds of Yang’s aesthetic—the personification of heavy personal trauma, leavened by persistent goofiness—in this collection of two of his earliest works. Indeed, even the clean lines and uncluttered composition of his visual style seem already honed, if not perfected. In the first story, a kinda-bully befriends a nerd whose hatred of his awful father has anthropomorphized into huge, murderous animal crackers. In the second, a girl falls for a dream-spirit named Saint Danger, who plans to save humanity from an alien invasion by deciding who is unfit enough for survival. The two stories share a few tangential relationships, cast of characters, and a secret society of microbots who store data up people’s nostrils. The power of Yang’s work comes from his ability to juggle a lot of ideas while working on several different levels all at once. When it clicks, it’s sublime; when it doesn’t quite, like here, it’s still pretty thought-provoking. In an especially fine bonus, Yang recounts his journey from child comics enthusiast to self-published cartoonist and details the finer points of his artistic process. Grades 8-12. --Ian Chipman

**Ignore the review on Amazon.com. The cultural disconnect in that review is quite strong. lol/smh Yang's book creates something really beautiful out of painful (and embarrassing) experiences through the friendships he depicts in the book. Also--the girl in the book shows a female lead 'mainstream' audiences don't always see in the big or small screen. Definitely worth reserving at the library or just buying outright.**

Britten and Brulightly by Hannah Berry

By Hannah Berry

From Publishers Weekly:

Berry's impressive graphic novel debut—published to much praise last year in Great Britain—mixes classic noir, a timeless story of love and loss and a shot of black humor with gloomy 1940s London as the perfect backdrop. PI Fernández Britten is known as the Heartbreaker: he's the one who follows cheating spouses and delivers news that ruins marriages. When glamorous Charlotte Maughton, the daughter of children's publishing magnate Maurice Maughton, hires him to look into the alleged suicide of her fiancé, Berni Kudos, Britten glumly takes the case. With his trusty sidekick, Stewart Brülightly—who just happens to be a teabag—Britten begins sniffing around Kudos's job at Maughton Publishing, keeping in mind Charlotte's suspicion that her fiancé's death could be tied to a blackmailing scheme aimed at her powerful father....(Apr.)

I loved everything about this book--but I recommend reading this on a *very* sunny day to combat the very effective writing and art. lol/smh