What Are You Reading? June 9, 2014

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

I’ve been enjoying the end of the semester bustle of Boston University and the beginning of the summer away from BU.

Happy to add my voice to Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki’s  Unleashing Readers!

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croakcover1

Scorch Rogue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I finally had time to finish Gina Damico’s Croak trilogy. I heard the author talk about the series back in December and I felt intrigued. I started the series with Rogue (the last) and enjoyed it but felt a bit lost. I picked up the other two and re-read them all.

Lex is having trouble with adolescence.  She’s aggressive and out of control, getting into fights and breaking noses and other bones. Her twin sister has no such tendencies and her parents don’t understand where the violence comes from. But Mort, Lex’s uncle, understands all too well. He understands because he was the same, in so many ways, he was the same.

Mort is an agent of Death, he is a cloaked grim reaper and he is now in charge of Lex’s summer vacation. It is a great series, Croak building to Scorch which answers many questions and introduces new characters and issues.  Finally, Rogue answering all the questions that can be answered and leaves the ones that can’t be. The beauty in the series is that it isn’t all nice and happy. People die, Lex makes mistakes, people forgive her. Mort never gives anyone all the information, least of all the reader. There are heroes and villains and lots of running around barely getting out in time to get into even more of a mess.

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Maus

Although I  review, read, recommend, and think about graphic novels most of the time now, I only began reading the medium a few years ago.

I read Spiegelman’s Maus early on in my exploration of the medium. I didn’t like it. I felt he made fun of the Holocaust. I mean, cats and mice? Is there a more tired metaphor? The insertion of his mother’s suicide seemed so random and, self aggrandizing.

The horror of more than six-million murders played out in black and white, simple animal drawings. The books received a Pulitzer and I didn’t understand what all the huff was all about. Simply said, I didn’t understand.

I have, in the few short years since beginning my study, read and reread Maus. Each time the reading takes longer. Each time I read fewer pages at a time. I spend more time thinking about it. Each time I read these books I understand more, but still, I don’t understand the horror at all.

RoseAnother series that I read every once in a while is Jeff Smith’s Bone. I’m not a big fan, although I understand why it is popular. The series is fun, silly and sometimes exciting. My favorite is The Great Cow Race, probably because Grandma is such a interesting character, and that is the thing. I’ve never been very interested in Bone or his cousins. Instead, I have wanted more than the small backward glances Smith provides to how Grandma, a queen, became an old lady running a race with cows.

Rose gives all those details. The book is definitely a part of the Bone series with the same bright colors, the same  strange mix of characters that are realistic representations and highly unlikely fantasies. People, dragons, and rat men are all present. There is a hint of the origin story of the Lord of the Locust – which will be the next book I read.

4 thoughts on “What Are You Reading? June 9, 2014

  1. I haven’t read them, but the Croak Trilogy look like the kinds of books that will appeal to reluctant readers. What do you think? I like some graphic novels but admit I was hooked by American Born Chinese. It is the one that allowed me to see the power in the format. Then I read Tangles: A Story about Alzheimer’s, My Mother, and Me by Sarah Leavitt. I’ve been hooked ever since.

    • Croak is great but totally depends on the reader! Some reluctant readers might not be able to decode – others that CAN read might be propelled through the story and be interested enough to keep going.

    • Yeah – I’m not a big fan of traditional super heroes. Watchman left me sort of irritated! But … I’m writing about Gene Yang’s newest, The Shadow Hero that is a super hero but it has so much more.

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