Archive for Graphic Novel

The Sleepwalkers

Written and Illustrated by Viviane Schwarz

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A unique graphic novel for the younger set.  If you are plagued by nightmares, write a letter, put it under your pillow and help will come.  Three fluffy sheep will rescue the sleeper from their dream and turn it into something the dreamer can handle, maybe even enjoy.  A little girl dreams about lots and lots of mice, but she is rescued by the sheep and taken to a safe house.  They give her an inflatable catamaran to float over the sea of mice and send her home.  Yet, the sheep are getting old and these nightly adventures are taking their toll.  They decide to train the next generation of rescuers.  The first new rescuer is concocted out of a well-loved quilt into a plump, rather timid bear named Bonifacius or Bonno for short.  The sheep take Bonno out the very next night for his rescue-in-training. This time the dream is a falling one.  They land on a plane that looks like a pterodactyl that the dreamer learns to fly.  The next day, the sheep make a sock monkey to be his teammate.  Bonno is sure that Amali the sock monkey is a better rescuer because she seems to do everything right.  Next, they conjure up their final rescue helper, Sophia, a crow with a writing quill for a head.  Just in time because they have someone with a Naked in Public dream.  They all get clothes to wear and Bonno adopts his signature costume, a Mexican wrestler’s mask.  Through all of these challenges, the new team learns to solve the scary dreams with their own inimitable style.

Young readers want to jump on the graphic novel bandwagon like their older peers but often the stories are not appropriate for them.  This one is written with them in mind concerning a struggle many of them face: bad dreams.  The characters grow and mature as they gain the confidence required to do their “job”, as well as helping the dreamers solve their sleep problems.  The graphic novel format is really difficult to read aloud unless you do it one-on-one.  This has a fairly easy reading level, so a third grader could read this to a younger reader such as a Reading Buddy and both would have the time to examine each frame.

  • SleepwalkersTITLE: The Sleepwalkers
  • AUTHOR and ILLUSTRATOR: Viviane Schwarz
  • PUBLISHER: Candlewick, 2013
  • REVIEWER: Risa Brown
  • EDITION: Paperback, 94 p.
  • ISBN: 978-0-7636-6230-1
  • GENRE: Graphic novel, fantasy
  • LEXILE:  350GN

William and the Lost Spirit

Written and Illustrated by Gwen de Bonneval and Matthieu Bonhomme

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Welcome to medieval France, land of chivalry, monsters, and unexplained events. Translated from the French, this beautifully drawn graphic novel gives third graders a glimpse into that world, represented by realistic characters. William has recently lost his father, but the father’s spirit continues to call to William. His sister, Helise, also disappears, so he sets off in search of clues. Brigands run rampant in the area, making it difficult to know who to trust. Monsters William encounters include those with no head and a face below their arms, anthropomorphic dolphins, talking plants, and dog-headed men. He crosses the ocean and the desert and catches a glimpse of his father’s hand. He gets help from a variety of characters, including his aunt, a knight, a troubadour, one of the monsters, and a young girl. The girl is required to call herself the only son of a king, just one of the “truths” of that kingdom. On his return, William faces his mother and possible future stepfather who are suspicious at best. His sister turns into a goat. Mom is sometimes a cat.

As with most graphic novels, the illustrations are very important, and these do not disappoint. Faces and animals are true-to-life and even the monsters are believable. The battle scenes may be overly realistic.

The extensive section about roles in the medieval world, mythological creatures, and gender roles provides added value and should aid students in comprehension. There is also a very good discussion section. The publisher provides materials and information on reading activities through their website: .

  • WilliamTitle: William and the Lost Spirit
  • Authors and Illustrators: Gwen de Bonneval and Matthieu Bonhomme
  • Publisher: Graphic Universe/Lerner Publishing Group
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-4677-0807-4
  • Genre: Middle grade, Chivalry, Myth

The Little Prince: The Star Snatcher’s Planet

Written by Thomas Barichella

Illustrated by Élyum Studio

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This graphic novel is Book #5 in a series adapted from the TV animated adventures based on Antoine De Saint-Exupéry’s classic The Little Prince.

Designed for a new generation of readers, this series follows Little Prince and his trusty sidekick Fox as they travel the universe to keep planets safe from their archenemy, the evil Snake. In this adventure, the duo finds themselves in the world of the Cholorphyllians, a farming people who are having trouble keeping their crops alive. The prince’s magical powers lead them to a strange man called the Astronomer. They learn he’s been collecting stars to keep for himself in his isolated tree house. Problem is, he’s emptying the sky of light and without it all the Cholorphyllians’ plants will die.

It won’t be easy to convince the Astronomer to return the stars, especially with Snake whispering dark thoughts into his ear. Snake persuades Astronomer to not only snatch stars, but to capture the Little Prince’s own home, Asteroid B612, and his beloved friend, Rose. Little Prince and Fox must use their creativity and quick thinking to come up with a plan to save their home and prevent the Cholophyllians’ entire planet from plunging into darkness.

With the universal theme of good triumphing evil, third grade readers, especially those who like superhero tales, will enjoy this action-packed adventure. A quick character glossary on the first page introduces new readers to the cast, and a sprinkling of advanced vocabulary will help with their reading skills. An additional comic book short of The Little Prince (as imagined by artist Pierre Makyo) is included at the end, as well as a one-page biography of Saint-Exupéry, which may encourage readers to seek out the original story, currently celebrating its 70th anniversary of publication.

The QR code on the back cover links to the publisher’s website for additional information on the series. (

  • Star SnatcherTitle: The Little Prince: The Star Snatcher’s Planet
  • Author: Thomas Barichella
  • Illustrator: Élyum Studio
  • Publisher: Graphic Universe / Lerner Publishing Group
  • Reviewer: Lauren Abbey Greenberg
  • Paperback: 56 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-7613-8755-8
  • Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction

Calvert and the Battle of Baltimore

Written and illustrated by J. Scott Fuqua

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Historical fiction can be a terrific way to introduce young readers to the fascinating days of the past—as long as the history part of the book remains accurate and the story is captivating. Despite some occasionally weak writing, Calvert the Raven and the Battle of Baltimore succeeds in both areas and is an interesting look at one of the most important battles in American history.
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Pip and the Wood Witch Curse: Book One of the Spindlewood Tales

Written and Illustrated by Chris Mould

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Book One of the “Spindlewood Tales,” is the exciting and gripping adventure of an abused orphan, Pip. About to be sold, literally, to a ship’s captain, Pip seizes the opportunity to escape, only to land in a worse situation.  is delivered into the legendary village of Hangman’s Hollow, where the townspeople and the creatures of the forest fight over possession of the children. Children are forced to hide lest they be imprisoned by the forest dwellers. When Pip trudges through a heavy snow, his tracks set in motion a whole series of events: chases through the city streets and through the woods, flying accusations, and battles. He wanders past the local tavern, where the tavern keeper snatches him, keeps him safe, and introduces him to his own son. Pip and the son, Toad, set out to rescue a girl rumored to be hiding.
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Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad

Written and Illustrated by Nathan Hale

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This graphic novel tells the true story of the Battle of the Hampton Roads. It was the most important naval battle of the American Civil war, between the Confederates (the rebels) and the Union (the north). This story for third graders was the first meeting of the ironclad warship, the Virginia (built from part of the famous Merrimack) and the Monitor (built by the Union and designed by John Ericsson).

Third grade students will enjoy reading this book. This book will be specially appealing to boys, who love an exciting, but true story.  They will learn about the events leading up to the final showdown of the two ships and the other ships involved.  It is an exciting way to learn about this event in American history.

This graphic novel also includes some very funny characters besides the people who were in involved in the preparation of the ships and crew for the battle. The illustrations add a lot of information and are fun to read.  Third grade students will enjoy reading this book more than once because of the details included in the both the illustrations and the text.  A fun book for all ages, this could also be used as a center for students who are reading for comprehension. The teacher could ask for facts to be written from each chapter.

In the back pages there are facts about each person involved in the battle. There is a time line and a bibliography.

For more information on author, Nathan Hale, go to his website: [learn_more caption=”Bibliographic Information”]

  • Nathan HaleTitle:  Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad
  • Author and Illustrator: Nathan Hale
  • Publisher:  Amululet Books, 2012
  • Reviewer:  Susan Couture
  • Hardcover: 118 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-4197-0395-9
  • Genre: Graphic Novel, History
  • Lexile: 280GN

Victricia Malicia Book-Loving Buccaneer

By Carrie Clickard

Illustrated by Mark Meyers

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Victricia Alicia Calamity Barrett comes from a pirate family, where she has learned the correct behaviors of being a pirate. However, piracy is not her forte.  Victricia doesn’t tie her knots right. She can’t climb ropes. And, all she  wants to do is READ!    Third grade strong boys and girls will laugh at this funny story.
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