Friday, January 24, 2014

[BOOK REVIEW] The Far Side Gallery 3 by Gary Larson

Title:  The Far Side Gallery 3

Author:  Gary Larson

Genre: Animals / Humor / Society

Year Published: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984

Year Read: 2014

Publisher: Universal Press Syndicate Company

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 7+ (Some Suggestive Themes)

Buy on:  Amazon  //  Book Depository


Now, I have heard many good things about Gary Larson’s famous “The Far Side Gallery” series, but I never had the chance to read them, until now!  Surprisingly starting with the third volume of the “Far Side Gallery” series, “The Far Side Gallery 3,” I found myself rolling on the floor with laughter throughout the entire volume!

What is this story about?

Basically, this volume contains many comic strips of Gary Larson’s famous series “The Far Side Gallery” and each comic strip has a character or an animal doing something hilarious in their situations.

What I loved about this story:

Gary Larson’s writing: Gary Larson’s writing is truly brilliant and hilarious at the same time as the various characters in these comic strips are always doing something hilarious or playing off of a pun in an intriguing way.  I loved the way that Gary Larson takes puns such as “Primitive Fandango” and “Parakeet Furniture” and managed to twist them around by actually having the characters take the puns seriously, such as the parakeet furniture being shown as human fingers with the parakeets perching on them.  In all honesty, I really enjoyed almost all of the comic strips in this collection as they were creative and hilarious at the same time and here are a couple of excerpts that I considered to be some of my favorites in this collection:

“For crying out loud, I was hibernating!  Don’t you guys ever take a pulse?” (When a bear was mistaken for being dead at a funeral)

“So, then, when Old MacDonald turned his back, I took that ax, and with a whack whack here and a whack whack there, I finished him off. (A chicken tells an inmate about how he killed Old MacDonald and ended up in jail).

“Neither rain nor snow nor sleet nor hail, they said, could stop the mail…But they didn’t figure on Rexbo.”

“He’s dead, all right-beaked in the back…and, you know, this won’t be easy to solve.” (Solving the murder of a penguin among a group of penguins)

Gary Larson’s artwork:  Gary Larson’s artwork is hilarious to look at as the characters look exaggerated with their bodies looking a bit wobbly and their heads being a bit larger than their bodies.  I also loved the simplistic look of the artwork as it makes the comedic moments in this collection stand out even more.

What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

Probably the only thing problematic with this series is that there are a couple of comic strips in this collection that mentions “hell” a dozen times and that might be a bit upsetting for some readers.  Readers who do not like the mention of “hell” might want to skim over the comic strips that mention “hell” whenever they read this collection.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, “The Far Side Gallery 3” is a truly brilliant series for fans of Gary Larson’s “Far Side Gallery” series and you will surely start rolling around the floor with laughter at this collection!

[BOOK REVIEW] Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

Title:  Fortunately, the Milk

Author:  Neil Gaiman

Artist:  Skottie Young

Genre: Time Travel / Humor / Adventure / Family

Year Published: 2013

Year Read: 1/16/2014

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 8+ (Some Bizarre Imagery)

I have read many books by Neil Gaiman that were either children’s books or adult books, but Neil Gaiman’s most recent book, “Fortunately, the Milk,” has to be one of the most surreal and light-hearted books out of his collection! 

The story starts off with a young boy and his little sister running out of milk and their father ends up going to the store to buy some more milk.  However, when the father vanishes for a long time and he finally comes back home, his kids wonder where he had been.  The father than goes on and tells this bizarre story about how he was on his way home, when he was abducted by aliens who wanted to remodel the planet Earth.  The father then manages to escape the aliens through an emergency exit in the ship and he lands in the ocean where he meets a group of pirates!  The father then managed to escape the pirates when a booming voice from above the sky calls out to him to climb up the rope ladder. When the father climbed up the rope ladder, he ends up meeting a green stegosaurus called Professor Steg who happens to be a world-renowned time traveler!

Then things get weirder from here…

Neil Gaiman has done it again in this whimsical tale about a father going on a wild adventure after trying to deliver some milk to his kids!  Now, I have mentioned before that this is probably Neil Gaiman’s most light-hearted book out of all of his children’s books combined since most of his works were dark and yet still retain its creative flair for the fantasy elements!  So, I absolutely loved the way that Neil Gaiman made this story both hilarious and creative at the same time and I also loved the humorous nature of this story as the Father and Professor Steg easily trick their enemies whenever they get into a tight situation! I also loved the loose narrative of this story as the Father and Professor Steg constantly keep getting into weirder situations as the story progresses and I was constantly baffled by the various people they meet along the way such as Splod the God and a group of wumpires (not vampires, although they have the same characteristics).  But what really surprised me the most in this book were Skottie Young’s illustrations, since I was so used to seeing Dave McKean illustrate many books by Neil Gaiman and it was a pleasant surprise to see a different artist illustrate a book written by Neil Gaiman.  Skottie Young’s illustrations complement the chaotic and hilarious nature of this book as the characters and the landscapes look truly exaggerated and surreal, making the Father’s adventures really stand out!  I also loved the image of the Father himself as he wears a long striped scarf and has wild and crazy hair that brings out his eccentric nature.

The only thing that might be problematic with this book is that the story tends to jump around very quickly and that might confuse some children.  There are many events that take place during the father and Professor Steg’s adventures such as meeting the pirates and meeting the space aliens and all of those adventures colliding with each other might confuse some children who are not used to reading so many events in one sitting.

Overall, “Fortunately, the Milk” is a fantastic read for children who are huge fans of Neil Gaiman’s works and love reading about surreal and imaginative adventures!  I would highly recommend this book to children of any ages!


Sunday, January 12, 2014

[BOOK REVIEW] Caleb and Kate by William Steig

Title:  Caleb and Kate

Author:  William Steig

Genre: Romance / Animals / Magic

Year Published: 1977

Year Read:  1993

Publisher: Square Fish

Source:  Purchased

Content Rating:  Ages 6+  (One Intense Scene Involving Burglary and Domestic Tensions)

Buy on:  Amazon  //  Book Depository 

“Caleb and Kate” is one of William Steig’s most touching and intense books about how love can conquer any obstacle in life. The story of how the couple dealt with almost being separated from each other, due from a magic spell, is one of the most popular forms of fairy tales ever created.

“Caleb and Kate” is an extremely dramatic love story from the creative mind of William Steig. William Steig shows that even though Caleb and Kate fought with each other most of the time, their love for each other has mysteriously broke the spell over Caleb and the couple reunite with each other with more passion than before. William Steig has specialty with illustrating the forests in each of his stories with luscious colors. “Caleb and Kate” is no exception with the forests contrasting in color as the forests are light during the day and are dark during the night.

The two things that I find wrong with this book is that the story tends to be longer than any other children’s book I have read and that there are many words in the book that young children would not understand. The story tends to stretch out more than it needs to such as, the scene where Caleb is playing with the other dogs, when the focus of the story is actually in Caleb trying to tell his wife that he is her long lost husband that she is trying to find. Also, William Steig has been known to use advanced vocabulary in his books, even though they are aimed at children. The words that many young children would find hard to understand are “odious,” “cantankerous,” and “avidly.” Parents should take some time to explain the advanced vocabulary to their children so that the children would understand the book better.

“Caleb and Kate” explains about how love manages to bring two quarreling couples back together after Caleb has been transformed into a dog. Even though Caleb was threatened with the idea of spending the rest of his life as a dog, he still did not give up on the love that he shares with Kate and tries to be by her side at all times. This book is the perfect love story for young children and adults would also love this book as well for its theme about love conquering anything.

[BOOK REVIEW] The Wump World by Bill Peet

Title:  The Wump World

Author:  Bill Peet

Genre: Animals / Environmentalism / Pollution

Year Published: 1970

Year Read:  2010

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 5+  (Some Suggestive Themes)

Buy on:  Amazon  //  Book Depository 

“The Wump World” is an inspiring environmental story from the great mind of Bill Peet and it is about how the Wumps’ world changes when a race called the Pollutians come onto the Wump world and start polluting the world.  “The Wump World” is a truly effective tale that really delivers the message of the dangers of pollution in a creative and dramatic way.

Bill Peet has done a magnificent job at bringing the message of the consequences of polluting as the Wump World becomes so polluted that no life can really live on the planet.  Many children will understand the negative effects of pollution as the book does a great job at describing the terrible effects that pollution caused on the Wump World.  Bill Peet’s illustrations are beautiful and effective as the illustrations of the wumps are creative as the wumps look like half moose and half elephant creatures and there are more creative images in this book as the Pollutians look like little blue people.  The images that stood out the most in this book are the images of the pollution that the Pollutians have brought to the Wump World as the sky and the world looks so dark and dreary, which effectively brings out the message of the dangers of pollution in an effective way.

Parents should know that the Pollutians do not seem to learn their lesson as they seem more intent on finding another planet to live on rather then just fixing up the mess they have caused.  Parents should tell their children that pollution is bad for the environment and that if they caused a mess, they have to clean up after themselves.

“The Wump World” is a heartwarming tale about the importance of respecting the environment that children will learn greatly from I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the length of the book might bore smaller children.

[BOOK REVIEW] Mice Twice by Joseph Low

Title:  Mice Twice

Author:  Joseph Low

Genre: Animals / Food Chain / Suspense

Year Published: 1980

Year Read:  2004

Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 4+ (Some Scary Imagery)

Buy on:  Amazon  //  Book Depository 

“Mice Twice” is a clever book by Joseph Low about how a clever mouse outsmarts a hungry cat when the cat invited her over for dinner.  “Mice Twice” may have some intense looking illustrations that might scare smaller children, but this is truly a classic book for children of all ages.

Joseph Low has done an excellent job with both the story and the illustrations of this clever tale.  Joseph Low effectively shows how cunning can beat trickery as long as that person (in this case, Mouse) is cautious among people who intend to do them harm and try to avoid them at all costs.  Joseph Low’s illustrations are scratchy yet detailed especially of Cat and Lion as they both have sharp teeth and intense looking eyes, strongly indicating that they are clearly the villains of this tale.  Also, Joseph Low has done an excellent job at illustrating the characters in 1800s clothing style, indicating that this tale took place many years ago.

Parents should know that some of the images of Cat and Lion in this book may be too intense for smaller children too handle.  Cat and Lion have intense looking eyes throughout the book as their eyes are always shadowed and they also have sharp teeth that strongly reinforce their ruthless nature.  Parents should read this book first before they show it to their children and see if their children are used to illustrations that look intense.

“Mice Twice” is an interesting and great tale about trickery and being cautious of one’s surroundings and children will surely take great pleasure in reading this tale over and over again.  I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since smaller children might be scared by the intense illustrations of Cat and Lion.

1981 Caldecott Honor


Saturday, January 11, 2014

My 2013 Reading Stats

Hey everyone! This is basically the first time I've done a reading stats for the books I've read each year, so here are my reading stats for 2013:

Children's Books: 

★  Picture Books: 12

✩ Children’s Fiction: 3

Adult Books:

★  Historical Romance: 4

Contemporary Romance: 1

★  Fantasy: 2


Graphic Novels: 41

Manga: 3

Young Adult: 5 

New Adult: 1

Total Books for 2013:  72

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

[BOOK REVIEW] X-Men: Mutant Genesis by Chris Claremont

Title:  X-Men:  Mutant Genesis

Author:  Chris Claremont

Artist:  Jim Lee

Genre: Action / Adventure / Science Fiction / Prejudice

Year Published: 1991

Year Read: 2014

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 12+ (Violence and Some Fighting Scenes)

Buy or Add on:  Amazon  //  Goodreads


I have been reading the “X-Men” comics for awhile now, but there was one story line that fans were raving about during the 1990s and that was “X-Men: Mutant Genesis!” Well, the reason why “X-Men: Mutant Genesis” was praised a lot by the fans during the 1990s was because this was the highest selling comic book at the time. It also helped paved way for the famous 1990s cartoon series and it even paved way for an arcade game called “X-Men: Children of the Atom.” “X-Men: Mutant Genesis” was also considered Chris Claremont’s final work on the “X-Men” comics (well at least up until the 2000s anyway). Now, having been introduced to the “X-Men” franchise through the 1990s cartoon series, I had to check out the comic book that helped inspired the cartoon series for myself!

What is this story about?

There are two stories in this volume: one that involves the X-Men fighting against Magneto and the other with Wolverine being kidnapped by the Hand, Weapon X and Fenris.

Magneto Story (Rubicon: Issue #1, Firestorm: Issue #2, and Fallout: Issue #3)

In this story, when Magneto posed a threat to all the humans on Earth, both the United States and Russia decided to blow up his home planet, Asteroid M in order to stop him. At the same time, a group of mutant worshippers, led by Fabian Cortez, become Magneto’s new Acolytes and help him try to find his personal goal. Meanwhile, the X-Men, who have split up into two teams: the Blue team (consisting of Cyclops, Psylocke, Beast, Wolverine, Gambit and Rogue) and the Gold team (consisting of Storm, Archangel, Colossus, Iceman, Jean Grey, and Banshee) all try to stop Magneto before it is too late!

Omega Red Story (The Resurrection and the Flesh: Issue #4, Blowback: Issue #5, …Along Came Sabretooth: Issue #6 and Issue #7)

In this story, Omega Red, Wolverine’s old nemesis, is resurrected by the Hand, Weapon X and brother and sister team, Fenris and is out for revenge on both Wolverine and Sabretooth!  Not only that, but Omega Red is also seeking for a secret weapon that could give him even more strength and only Wolverine knows where the secret weapon is located at!

What I loved about this story:

Chris Claremont , John Byrne and Scott Lobdell’s writing: I must admit that these stories were fun and exciting at the same time and I really enjoyed reading the volume that put the X-Men on the map (at least during the 1990s)!  Chris Claremont’s writing for Magneto’s story was well written and I loved the way that Chris Claremont gave each character a focus in the story, especially showcasing how Gambit and Rogue work within a team.  I also loved the way that Chris Claremont split up the X-Men into two teams, the Blue and Gold teams, not because they had a falling out with each other (which is a story line that is unfortunately used in the recent comics), but because it was a way for the X-Men to do more activity in saving the world by having two different teams perform different missions whenever they are needed.  It was also interesting in seeing Magneto as the villain again since throughout the 1980s, he was working with the X-Men and you can actually see the history he had with the X-Men and how he keeps wondering why the X-Men are fighting him, despite his reasons being destructive. I really enjoyed John Byrne and Scott Lobdell’s writing of the second story that involved Omega Red as it was much more character driven, with some bits of Wolverine’s past being exposed and the blossoming relationship between Rogue and Gambit. I also loved the introduction of Jubilee in this story as she seems to replace Kitty Pryde as the tag along kid of the group and the scenes with her provided so much humor to the story.  I also loved the way that John Byrne and Scott Lobdell portrayed Omega Red as being a villain who is bent on revenge against Wolverine and the scenes where he beats up Wolverine were quite intense.

Jim Lee’s artwork:  Probably the best part about this volume was Jim Lee’s amazing artwork!  Every time I see Jim Lee doing the artwork for a comic book, you know that I will automatically fall in love with it!  I loved the way that Jim Lee drew the characters as they all look truly realistic, yet a bit scratchy in some areas. I also loved the way that Jim Lee drew the action sequences as the explosions really do glow off the pages and I loved seeing the characters actually fighting hand to hand with their enemies (the best ones being of Psylocke using her martial arts skills to fight against enemies as they look amazing)!

What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

The reason why I gave this a four star rating was because I felt that the stories moved along too fast and there were not enough character moments in the stories (save for the romantic relationship between Rogue and Gambit and Jubilee providing some fun to the story). Even though most of my favorite characters were in these stories, it felt like they were just there for the sake of action rather than actual character development and many fans have pointed out that the 1990s was a time of mainly action-driven comics.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, “X-Men: Mutant Genesis” was a truly fun and exciting read and I would recommend this book to any X-Men fan looking for a comic book that can be read just for the fun of it!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

[BOOK REVIEW] Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning

Title:  Bloodfever

Author:  Karen Marie Moning

Genre: Urban Fantasy / Horror / Paranormal Romance

Year Published: 2007

Number of Pages: 349 pages

Date Read:  1/4/2014

Publisher: Dell

Series: Fever #2

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 18+ (Strong Language and Gory Violence)

Buy on:  Amazon  //  Book Depository

I have noticed that it has been years since I had read Karen Marie Moning’s first novel in her popular “Fever” series “Darkfever.” Now, I am back with a vengeance and I have just recently picked up the second book in the “Fever” series “Bloodfever” and it is as good as the first novel!

MacKayla Lane is back and this time, she and her new brash yet mysterious partner Jericho Barrons are searching for a mysterious book called the Sinsar Dubh which contains the darkest magic imaginable!  But, MacKayla and Jericho are not the only ones after the Sinsar Dubh, as the immortal Fae Prince named V’lane is also after the Sinsar Dubh and he also seems to be after MacKayla’s heart!  Also, to add more load to MacKayla’s life, she ends up meeting with a young sidhe-seer like herself named Dani and MacKayla will soon realize that there are more secrets being hidden from her than she will ever know!

Karen Marie Moning has done it again with her stellar storytelling about a young woman trying to understand her place in this frightening world.  I loved the way that Karen Marie Moning explains this nightmarish universe to the readers as it makes the myths that surround Ireland so much more understandable to me and I cannot help, but be so immersed with the mythos of the Fae and the Sidhe-Seers shown in this world!  I also loved the intensity and frightening moments that Karen Marie Moning brought to this story as I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat wondering how MacKayla was going to make it out of Ireland alive!  But, probably the best parts about this novel were the characters themselves!  MacKayla Lane is probably one of the best heroines I had ever read in any paranormal romance novel!  I loved the fact that we are able to see the world from her point of view and how she is trying to cope with this strange and dangerous world that she was suddenly forced into.  Sure, it may seem like MacKayla is complaining about her new life throughout this novel and that can be pretty annoying, but in this case, I actually sympathize with her frustrations in trying to understand this new and dangerous world. Also, the fact that everyone just refuses to tell MacKayla anything about her duties as the sidhe-seer just makes me sympathize with her even more since I would have been frustrated with people not telling me the things I really need to know.  But, probably my most favorite character in this novel is none other than Jericho Barrons himself!  Jericho Barrons is probably one of the most dangerous and mysterious heroes I had ever read about and I will admit that I tense up whenever he gets mad since he is shown being super strong (which I do wonder about).  But, Jericho Barrons is easily one of the most interesting characters in this book and I loved the fact that he is always described as being extremely strong and muscular (two traits that I seek for in every alpha male hero that I read about in romance novels)!  I also loved the introduction of Dani, the young sidhe-seer in this book as she is not only a perky girl with an attitude, but the fact that there are other sidhe-seers in this world besides MacKayla really has me intrigued to see what Dani and MacKayla’s relationship will be like in future books!

For anyone who does not like strong language, this novel contains strong language (even more so than the first novel) and anyone who feels uncomfortable with the strong language can feel free to skim over these words. Also, this novel has gory violence which involves various creatures getting eaten and we are being told this in graphic detail and that might be unsettling for anyone who does not like gory violence.

Overall, “Bloodfever” is a truly brilliant continuation of Karen Marie Moning’s fantastic “Fever” series and I will definitely be picking up the third book in the “Fever” series “Faefever!”


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The 2013 Book Awards!

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!! Welcome to the annual 2013 Book awards ceremony where yours truly, Ronyell, will pick her favorite books of 2013 and give each of her favorite books an award! There are going to be three sections to this awards ceremony which includes an adult and young adult section, a graphic novels section and a picture book section! So just sit back, relax and enjoy the show! 

2013 Adult / Young Adult Novels Awards


* The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn: After reading “The Duke and I,” I was actually stuck between either choosing “The Duke and I” and “The Viscount Who Loved Me” for the year’s best “historical romance.” But, I decided on “The Viscount Who Loved Me” because Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sheffield were fantastic characters throughout the whole book and this book basically had both hilarious and tragic moments that made me fall in love with the characters!


* The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta (Young Adult):
Another classic Melina Marchetta book that I just fell in love with and as usual, I loved all of the characters introduced, especially Thomas Finch Mackee and the constant issues he has to face after the death of his uncle Joe.


* Hallowed by Cynthia Hand (Young Adult):
After reading Cynthia Hand’s hit novel “Unearthly,” I just had to check out the second book in the “Unearthly” series, “Hallowed” and I was seriously loving this paranormal romance novel that probably had the best love triangle story I had ever read in any romance novel (and that’s saying something because I normally don’t like reading about love triangles in any novel).


* A Texan's Luck by Jodi Thomas: Apart of Jodi Thomas’ legendary “Wife Lottery” series, this is probably one of my favorite books in this series, next to “The Texan’s Wager” and the characters, especially the main characters Captain Walker Larson and Lacy Larson were truly memorable! I also loved the various action sequences when Zeb Whitaker comes and tries to take back the gold he believes is his!


*Daphne Bridgerton from The Duke and I : A heroine who is truly spunky and likes to hang out with the boys, this is honestly one of my most favorite heroines in Julia Quinn’s books so far!


* Lucas Maxfield from Easy : What can I say? Lucas Maxfield is one awesome hero as he protects Jacqueline Wallace from her tragic experience with being raped and is also charming and is one heck of a fighter!


*Neil Gaiman: I have read many books by Neil Gaiman in the past, but his adult books this year were just fantastic to read! “Neverwhere,” “The Graveyard Book” and “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” were some of the best books I’ve read this year!


* The Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn: Both “The Duke and I” and “The Viscount Who Loved Me” were awesome reads from Julia Quinn’s highly acclaimed “Bridgerton” series and I definitely can’t wait to check out the rest of the books in this series and how the other Bridgerton siblings fare in their love lives!


* Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman:
After reading Neil Gaiman’s hit novel, “American Gods,” I just had to check out his earlier work on adult books “Neverwhere.” I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at how brilliant this novel really was as the alternative universe aspect of this book was both frightening and amazing at the same time!


*Easy by Tammara Webber:

“Love is not the absence of logic
but logic examined and recalculated
heated and curved to fit
inside the contours of the heart”
~ Lucas

Fantastic quote about how true love really works and I think it really spoke volumes about Lucas and Jacqueline’s relationship in “Easy!”


* The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: Come on! A cover with a young boy floating underwater has to be one of the most mesmerizing and haunting images I had ever seen on any book cover!


* Easy by Tammara Webber (New Adult): This is possibly the first time I’ve read a novel in the newly created “new adult” category, but Tammara Webber’s hit novel “Easy” was easily one of the best novels I had read this year and I am definitely looking forward to reading this book again!

2013 Graphic Novels Awards


*Brian K. Vaughan on Saga : Brian K. Vaughan’s writing on this new hit series, “Saga” was just brilliant as all the characters were relatable and hilarious and the situations were pretty intense and exciting! I definitely can’t wait to see what other surprises Brian K. Vaughan has in store for the characters in “Saga!”


* Jim Lee on Batman: Hush : Jim Lee’s artwork was truly beautiful in “Batman: Hush” as the characters looked so realistic and I also loved the way that the characters just glow on the pages whenever they were standing in a lighted area.


* Batman: The Black Mirror by Scott Snyder: This was seriously one of the best and most disturbing “Batman” comics I have ever read! The fact that Dick Grayson becomes the next Batman in this story and the fact that his rogue gallery is much more dangerous than anything Bruce Wayne had confronted made this novel one of the best in the “Batman” series!


* X-Men: Proteus by Chris Claremont (1970s): Being introduced to the X-Men through the second generation team, I couldn’t help but feel so giddy when I picked up this graphic novel, due to Proteus being in it! I honestly think that this story line was one of the X-Men’s best fights during the early years before the “Dark Phoenix Saga” and I enjoyed the characters and the fighting so much!



* Avatar the Last Airbender: The Promise by Gene Luen Yang: So far, I just read parts one and two, but seriously, I think that this new comic book series did the show “Avatar the Last Airbender” justice. The characters’ personalities are straight from the TV series (Aang is still the peaceful yet childlike protagonist of the show, while Sokka is still the comic relief of the show) and it also seems like I’m watching the fourth season of “Avatar the Last Airbender” rather than just reading a graphic novel interpretation of the TV series.


* Superman: Secret Identity by Kurt Busiek: This story takes place in Superboy of Earth Prime’s time and it relates the story of young Clark Kent having trouble in school and with his life due to his name being similar to the real Superman. I loved this story line because this is first time I’ve heard of Superboy of Earth Prime and I honestly thought that this was the most well written alternative reality story I’ve ever read from any comic book as it brilliantly details Clark Kent’s life from childhood to adulthood!


* Kingdom Hearts Final Mix by Shiro Amano: I loved playing the “Kingdom Hearts” games and when I found out that there was a manga series based off of the games, I had to read this series and I was very impressed with the style and the characterizations of the characters, even though this was a more hilarious take on the legendary video games!


*Batman (Dick Grayson) from Batman: The Black Mirror : I am a huge Dick Grayson fan and when I realized that he was the next Batman in “Batman: the Black Mirror,” I have to admit I was really excited about this! Dick Grayson was a fantastic hero in “Black Mirror,” especially with dealing with villains that were way more dangerous than what Bruce Wayne had to deal with and I give Dick Grayson credit for taking down these criminals!


* River Tam from Serenity :I must admit, I’m a huge River Tam and “Firefly” fan and every time I see River appear in “Firefly,” I just go nuts with anticipation because she’s such an unusual yet awesome character who went through so much trauma in her life and yet, is still able to be randomly funny and scary at the same time!


*Saga by Brian K. Vaughan:

“You're the one saying how vital offing these kids and grabbing their brat is to the war effort, right? Well, I'm telling you I need way more cash to do it right, so--


How have you not murdered that creature by now?

Oh, I've tried.” ~ Lying Cat, Gwendolyn and the Will.

Probably one of the best and funniest lines I’ve ever heard in any graphic novel, especially if you consider Lying Cat’s and the Will’s relationship with each other!


* Saga by Brian K. Vaughan: I know, I know, I already mentioned “Saga” a million times on here! But seriously, this series was fantastic and even though I was going to choose the “Chew” series by John Layman, I think that series came out a little before “Saga” did, so “Saga” fits this category!


* Saga by Brian K. Vaughan: What can I say? This was truly one brilliant series that just kept getting better and better every time I read it! The characters were well written and I loved the fact that there’s always a chance of real danger for these characters if they are not careful of where they’re going. I also loved the fact that this series was driven through a couple’s desperation to get their newborn child to a safer place during a time of war.

2012 Picture Book Awards


*Mo Willems: Mo Willems can seriously write children’s books that are not only funny, but also witty and inventive at the same time! His children’s books continue to put a smile on my face while I’m laughing constantly at the sarcastic humor his characters usually display!


*Patricia Polacco: Patricia Polacco’s illustrations continue to mesmerize me with the realistic expressions her characters have whenever they are upset or happy.


* That is NOT a Good Idea! by Mo Willems:
A truly hilarious and cautionary tale about a duck meeting up with a shady fox, who wants to turn the duck into his next dinner! Probably the best thing about this book was the unexpected ending and this book once again shows Mo Willems’ talent in writing witty and fun children’s books!


* Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco: A true story about two young boys who befriended each other during the Civil War, despite them being of different races and their lives being in great danger. This is easily one of Patricia Polacco’s most touching and dramatic stories that deal with the ugliness of racism.


* The Funny Little Woman by Arlene Mosel: This Japanese folktale is about a little old woman who happens to laugh at absolutely anything. One day however, she ends up falling into a large crack in the ground and meets up with the dreaded Oni, who want to make her cook for them forever! I absolutely loved this story because I’m always a huge fan of folktales from around the world and this folktale was really unique and interesting at the same time!


* Madeline's Christmas by Ludwig Bemelmans (Christmas): I’m always a huge fan of the “Madeline” books by Ludwig Bemelmans and this story didn’t disappoint me at all as Madeline helps a mysterious rug merchant and is rewarded in the end for her kindness.


* Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! by Mo Willems: Pigeon is not tired (or so he says) and he tries to bribe the readers to let him stay up late! This is definitely a fantastic book that both adults and children will love and Pigeon’s constant bribing towards the readers was just so hilarious for me to see!


* The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein: This book was brilliant in portraying the message about finding your true purpose in life and never giving up on finding that purpose. I think the circle in this story really showed the importance of this message in a very simple yet memorable way!


* Falling Up by Shel Silverstein:

“Tell my I'm clever,
Tell me I'm kind,
Tell me I'm talented,
Tell me I'm cute,
Tell me I'm sensitive,
Graceful and Wise
Tell me I'm perfect--
But tell me the TRUTH.”

One hilarious bit of poetry that I always enjoyed from the creative mind of Shel Silverstein!


* It's a Book by Lane Smith:
This book was amazing as it shows a monkey trying to tell a donkey about the book he was reading and how it was different from the laptop that the donkey had. I think this was definitely a fun book that both kids (who are intrigued with the new technology in our society) and adults (who still read books for a living) will love discussing about for many years!


* That is NOT a Good Idea! by Mo Willems:
Yep! This book won for best picture book of the year for just being so original, suspenseful and hilarious at the same time, while retaining its witty charm for the readers! This is definitely one of the best picture books I’ve read in the past decade!