Graphic Novel Adventures for Elementary Grades
I loved reading comic books as a child, and I enjoy graphic novels now, but I usually don’t have the time to read all the novels and nonfiction that I want to, much less taking some of that time for graphic novels. So this spring, when we were volunteering for the areas that we wanted to present at the ITEM conference this fall, I volunteered to take on elementary graphic novels.
These graphic novels are some of the newest and best, with lots of action and humor for both avid and reluctant readers.
Bera the One-Headed Troll by Eric Orchard. 9781626721067. 2016. Gr 2-5.
Bera is a humble troll who grows pumpkins on her island for the king. Then one day she rescues a human baby being bullied by mermaids. She’s not quite sure what to do with it, but when she finds out that the former head witch of the king wants to find it and eat it, Bera sets off on a quest to return it to its own world. In this sweet graphic novel based on themes of Norse mythology, an unlikely character finds that anyone can be a hero.
Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo (Book 1) by Drew Weing. 9781626723399. 2016. Gr 4-7.
Charles is not happy to move to an apartment in the city; even less so when he finds that a real-life monster lives in his closet. Charles calls on Margo Maloo, THE go-to person for help with monsters. But Margo is not what he expected, nor is the fact that his new hometown has a thriving underground community of trolls, ghosts, ogres, and more. And while Charles expects Margo to eliminate the problem, she is a mediator and settles these confrontations for the benefit of both humans and monsters. Readers will learn a subtle lesson in seeing other’s points of view in this fun story with a strong female hero.
Fluffy Strikes Back (P.U.R.S.T. Adventure : 1) by Ashley Spires. 9781771381277. 2016. Gr 2-5.
Ashley Spires uses the same sly humor in her new series as she did in her graphic novels about Binky the Space Cat. Sergeant Fluffy Vandermere is the cat in charge of Pets of the Universe Ready for Space Travel (P.U.R.S.T.). The space cat agents of PURST protect humans from alien attacks, and Fluffy is very serious about his post at the secret underground headquarters. So when insect aliens find the way in to HQ (which is hidden in a sandbox), they invade and take hostages. Fluffy has to call on his long-ago training to defeat the villains—and keep his fur dry. The serious and matter-of-fact tone of the narrator makes the story all the funnier.
Great Pet Escape (Pets on the Loose) by Victoria Jamieson. 9781627791052. 2016. Gr 1-3.
For months, GW the hamster has been “stuck in a terrible prison, otherwise known as…a second-grade classroom.” He was captured with his friends Barry the Bunny and Biter the guinea pig, now known respectively as the first grade and the kindergarten class pets. When they try to escape, they come up against an army of evil mice (fourth grade class pets) and their snake bodyguard (fifth grade class pet) who are plotting to get the school’s children sick. Readers will enjoy seeing all the familiar trappings of school, including Legos and Lincoln logs, janitor’s mops and Jello, that are used in the battle to save the children.
Hippopotamister by John Patrick Green. 9781626722002. 2016. Gr K-3.
Hippo and Red Panda are not happy at their rundown zoo, and finally Red Panda left to get a job in the outside world. On a visit, he convinces Hippo to come with him and get a job—to become respectable, a real “Hippopotamister.” They try any number of jobs—from hair-stylist to astronaut—but nothing feels right. Finally, Hippo goes back to the zoo. But when he sees the problems at the zoo, he realizes that the skills he learned in the real world can be used to help his fellow animal friends. Kids will laugh at the trouble Red Panda gets into in the outside world, and will cheer for the unexpected way everything turns out.
Mighty Jack (Book 1) by Ben Hatke. 9781626722651. 2016. Gr 4-8.
Jack’s autistic younger sister Maddy doesn’t talk, so when she begs him to buy a box of mysterious seeds from a shady guy at the flea market, he is so surprised that he trades his mom’s car for them. Soon, their backyard grows into a weird, wild—and fun—jungle, which they explore with Lilly, a neighbor girl. But the plants are dangerous, too, and when they discover a dragon lurking in the garden, they learn that this is much more than a lively adventure. I’m sure that kid readers will be as glad as I that this is just the beginning of a series.
Blogger: Tracey L.