Kids These Days

Are super lucky. Or maybe I just think that because I can appreciate what they have available to them. I don’t remember growing up with all the gorgeous books/movies/etc. they have now although that might just be because I’m getting old and curmudgeonly. Recently I’ve come across two graphic novel series for younger readers that I have fallen in love with.

AMULET – Written and drawn by Kazu Kibuishi. My first introduction to this series was through David Malki! on his Wondermark website. (Scroll down to the list of “good comics & art” on the right hand side.) I briefly glanced at the art on Kibuishi’s website and made a mental note to check on the series later. A week or so ago I was reading The Steampunk Bible and Amulet was mentioned as a series that was steampunk. So the next morning I checked out the first volume, The Stonekeeper.

The story opens with the death of Emily Hayes’ father in a car crash. A few years later Emily, her little brother Navin, and their mother are moving to an old house her mother has inherited from her grandfather. Strange things happen almost immediately and when their mother is stolen into a different world, Emily and Navin follow her in to try and save her. The rest of the series is about what happens to them there and how Emily grows into being the newest “Stonekeeper”.

Kibuishi has created a gorgeous world, filled with humans, animals, half-breeds, evil elves and robots of all sorts. The art practically tells the story for itself and makes me wish I could plaster my walls with it. At the moment only four volumes are published with Volume 5, Prince of the Elves, due to be released in September. I’m not sure how many more volumes there will be or if 5 will be the last but it’s definitely a series worth reading.

Stay up to date with Kibuishi and all his work through his website.

MOUSE GUARD – Written and drawn by David Petersen. I don’t remember how I first heard about Mouse Guard but fortunately I did and, even more fortunately, we had it at the library. It’s a lovely little series, but definitely for children.

Mouse Guard tells the story of the world of mice. They have cities and settlements like us and the Mouse Guard not only protects mice in the cities from outside threats but also act as escorts for mice traveling between the mice settlements.

The illustrations here are gorgeous and the stories are interesting but not the most well written. They move quickly though and are probably perfect for a young child looking for an entrance into a good graphic novel. Fall 1152 is the first in the series, followed by Winter 1152. Volume 3, The Black Axe, is a prequel and tells the story of a legendary Mouse Guard. Information about the series and lots of additional artwork can be found at the Mouse Guard website.

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4 thoughts on “Kids These Days

  1. David says:

    I’ve been interested in Kibuishi since I heard of the Flight anthologies, but haven’t gotten to any of his work yet. This might be one worth checking out, too.

    I reviewed the first Mouse Guard last year. I thought it well drawn and reasonably entertaining, but the story itself was weak and kind of clumsily told. I couldn’t muster up the interest to seek out the next volume, but, as you say, I could also see younger kids really enjoying it. For me, I prefer Brian Jacques’ Redwall series.

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    • Mary says:

      Mouse Guard definitely left something wanting in the way of story. But I would still recommend it to someone on the strength of the art work. And I highly recommend Amulet. The art is gorgeous, the story is good, and it’s a pretty fast read as well.

      I’m terribly embarrassed to admit that I haven’t read the Redwall series yet. It fills me with guilt everytime I see them since everything I’ve heard is that they are very good. Oh well, I’ll get there someday.

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      • David says:

        I still find the Redwall books a lot of fun, although there’s some nostalgia in that, since I read them first in elementary and junior high, as part of the target audience. But they are really delightful. Start with the earlier books — they’re more likely to be invigorating and original, usually. Some of the later books are excellent too, though.

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  2. […] The Amulet Series by Kazu Kibuishi. Beautiful art, cool female […]

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