Jarret J. Krosoczka’s Lunch Lady Graphic Novels

I’m always on the lookout for graphic novels that appeal to boys as much as the Babymouse series appeals to girls. The Babymouse series never fails to hook a few dormant or struggling readers at the beginning of the year, but they are usually girls. Something about all that pink makes it a hard sell for 6th grade boys. But I think I found my series- Lunch Lady by Jarret K. Krosoczka!

In the first book, Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute, we meet the “breakfast bunch” (Hector, Dee, and Terrence). Like most kids in the early intermediate grades, they are curious about the school lunch lady. What exactly does she do when she isn’t serving them lunch? I remember being in school and wondering about the “real life” of school workers. Well, the breakfast bunch decide to follow her one day to see what her life is like outside the cafeteria walls.

While the kids decide to follow the Lunch Lady, she and her pals begin to suspect the new substitute teacher, Mr. Pasteur, is up to good. When he refuses fresh baked cookies it only firms up their suspicions. In fact, he doesn’t eat anything. The ladies decide to follow him home – not knowing that they themselves are being followed by the breakfast bunch!

In the second book, Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians, we meet a cranky school librarian and her evil cronies bent on destroying video games! When the breakfast bunch and the Lunch Lady crew get wind of the plan, they set out to stop the League of Librarians! Can they do it, or will video games be destroyed in favor of reading?!

I have to say, I laughed out loud at both books. I enjoyed Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians the most because the librarians were hysterical. Some of the jokes might go over the heads of younger readers, like the librarian demanding to be called a media specialist instead of librarian. Regardless, it is very funny. Plus, the lunch lady comes up with a great compromise between reading and video games- everyone is a winner here.

I think this is a series that will appeal to boys who love graphic novels or need a series to really “hook” them into reading. It’s silly but the plot is fun and easy to relate to, being set in a school. The bright yellow color on each page reminds me of the pink used in the Babymouse series but more gender neutral. I think these would be a great lead-in to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.  I definitely plan to add these books to my library and I think they will be a big hit with boys and girls!

I imagine these books are going to blow up when the movie comes out.  Did you know Amy Poehler will be starring in the movie?  How cool is that?  I can totally picture her as the Lunch Lady!

 

 

Review copy courtesy of publisher

Rapunzel’s Revenge

Congratulations to Shannon and Dean Hale! Today, Al Roker announced that Rapunzel’s Revenge is the newest pick for Al’s Book Club for Kids! How exciting is that? It is wonderful to see a national media outlet embracing graphic novels this way. Hopefully, this will legitimize graphic novels for some of those parents who just don’t want to believe that “comic books” are legitimate novels.

I loved Rapunzel’s Revenge- check out my review of it here. More importantly, my students just ate it up. Boys and girls alike loved the book and were passing it around before school ended. They will be thrilled to hear that thanks to Al Roker, the book’s publication date has been moved up and it is on sale now!

Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale

I have to admit- I am not a graphic novel reader. Sure, I will read one, but it’s never my first choice. I think it’s because I read so fast and I tend to skip the pictures to get to the words, and then I have to go back to the pictures. It just slows down my normal reading pace. However, I was absolutely thrilled when I received an ARC of Rapunzel’s Revenge from the publisher. I read it in one sitting last night and can not wait to pass it on to my students. What a phenomenal story!

First, let’s begin with the size. The ARC is 7 1/2 x 10 7/8.  It’s bigger than your average book and it serves the illustrations well.  Nathan Hale’s (no relation to the authors) illustrations are just gorgeous.  I am not a “picture person” when it comes to books, hence my tendency to avoid graphic novels.  However, Nathan Hale forced me to linger over each and every panel!  The illustrations are beautiful and there is just so much going on in every one!

As for the story, WOW!  First of all, I so admire people who can co-write.  I can barely manage to write on my own, and coupled with the fact that I am a control freak, I can’t imagine writing with someone.  However, Shannon and Dean have crafted a fantastic fairy tale re-telling of Rapunzel’s story.  A much, much better story than the first time around!  The story is in direct contradiction to the original in many parts, but that’s what makes it so great.  Rapunzel is strong, witty, and smart.  No damsels in distress in this fairy tale!  The world she lives in is a mix of the Wild West and a fairy tale world.  Sounds crazy, right?  It works. And it works great!

This is going to be the perfect graphic novel for reluctant readers, fairy tale lovers, readers who love fairy tale retellings, and anyone who loves books that make you laugh out loud.  I can not wait to pass this one onto my students.  I can already foresee the fight that will break out over who gets to read it first.  And second.  And third.  And so on!

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