Book Review and Blog Tour Stop: Mighty Jack and The Goblin King by Ben Hatke

by Ben Hatke
Published by First Second Genres: Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Middle Grade
five-stars

Happy Book Birthday to Mighty Jack and The Goblin King by Ben Hatke! What is a book birthday you ask? Well, hopefully there is cake involved (I always have a way of finding cake), but it’s also the magical day that a new book gets published/released for sale. Today is also my turn on the blog tour for this fantastic graphic novel. Make sure to check out all the stops on the tour (here), and to read my review below.


Title: Mighty Jack and The Goblin King

Author: Ben Hatke

Pub Date: Sept 5th, 2017

Publisher: First Second

Genre: Middle Grade – Graphic Novel – Fantasy

My Rating: 5 STARS!

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

Synopsis:

The garden behind Jack’s house has gone wild with creatures set loose by the magic beans Jack and his kid sister Maddy planted. One particularly mean creature has kidnapped Maddy and carried her off. Now Jack and his neighbor Lilly must follow her to a world between worlds beyond the vines and stalks, where giants grind the bones of human children to feed their beast in the castle up above, and a fearsome goblin king rules down below. It’ll take more than Lilly’s bag of concoctions and tricks, and more than one hero, to rescue Maddy, reunite Jack’s family, and bring them all safely home again.

 

My Review: 

I gobbled up Mighty Jack and The Goblin King probably about as quickly as a giant would, and I am not ashamed about it. I loved every single page from start to finish. This is the second book in the Mighty Jack series written and illustrated by the talented Ben Hatke. Mr. Hatke uniquely captures the essence of the traditional Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale, but manages to give the story an unexpected twist all his own.

 

The narration is quick and fun, simple enough for younger readers to stay focused and committed to the storyline. One of my favorite “voices” in the novels is the goblins. While reading their dialogue I read/heard their voices sounding very similar to Yoda, which to me is a plus. Honestly, this is probably my brain being weird, but I found them delightfully strange.

However, what truly makes Might Jack and the Goblin King shine is the stunning illustrations. Every single page is jam packed with action and with color. You won’t want to take your eyes off of them, and my favorite illustrations were of the goblins themselves, especially the adorable gobblets.

 (Can these gobblets be made into little stuffed animals? I totally want one..or ten.)

 

The story revolves around the three main characters Jack, Lilly and Maddy, but the main focus is on Jack and Lilly. They are on a mission to rescue Maddy from being fed to the Giants’ “beast” (some type of machine thingy). While on their journey they are separated and both must push ahead on their own. I like how the author incorporated the family dynamic into the story, and also the importance of being a good friend. Lilly is my new hero, I love her take charge attitude and how clever and brave she is. Both our heroes learn important lessons, but the story never comes off as being “preachy” at any point. It all occurs very naturally.

There is even a little bit of romance in the story, and it is so AWKWARD! However, it is also sweet and perfectly relatable for the newly turned teenage reader.

While you don’t have to read the first book in this series, I would recommend you do. Because it will give you some back story on our characters and from whom they got their “magic beans” from. Hopefully the next book will have some answers as to who he is.  As well as a whole new adventure for our trio. I can’t wait!

If you are looking for a fun and lively graphic novel filled with adventure for a middle grade reader, look no further than these awesome Mighty Jack books. It will charm even the pickiest of readers with its beautiful illustrations and interesting creatures.

Thank you to First Second for providing me with a finished copy of Mighty Jack and The Goblin King in return for my review and participation in this blog tour.

 

About the Author:

Ben Hatke is the author and illustrator of the New York Times–bestselling Zita the Spacegirl trilogy, the picture books Julia’s House for Lost Creatures and Nobody Likes a Goblin, and the graphic novels Little Robot and Mighty Jack. He lives and works in the Shenandoah Valley with his wife and their boisterous pack of daughters. benhatke.com

 

 

five-stars

Blog Tour: Knife’s Edge by Hope Larson, Illustrations by Rebecca Mock

Genres: Adventure, Graphic Novel, Middle Grade

Welcome to the Knife’s Edge Blog Tour! Today is my stop on the tour and I am so excited to share with you my thoughts on this exciting and fun duet series. (You can follow the whole blog tour here).

 

Knife’s Edge
by Hope Larson
Illustrations by Rebecca Mock
Read: June 4-5, 2017
Published: June 27, 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Source: Finished copy from publisher (Thank You!)
Category: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Twins, Adventure, Ships
Series: Sequel to Compass SouthFour Points Duet 2/2
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound

 

Book Description: Twelve-year-old twin adventurers Cleopatra and Alexandra Dodge are reunited with their father and realize that two family heirlooms reveal the location of a treasure that is their birthright. When they set sail with Captain Tarboro on the Almira, they know they’re heading into danger—the ocean is filled with new and old enemies, including their nemesis, the infamous pirate Felix Worley.

But like a coral reef that lurks below the surface of the waves, trouble is brewing between the siblings. Alex is determined to become a sailor and is happy with his role aboard the Almira, but Cleo—the only girl on the ship—is tired of washing dishes in the galley. In an effort to find her own purpose, she begins studying sword fighting with Tarboro, but neither Alex nor her father approves.

Can the twins remain close as they pursue different goals and dreams, or will their growing differences tear the family apart before the treasure can be found?


In this follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Compass South, Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock once again create an outstanding seafaring adventure.

 

My Review:

After reading Compass South, I couldn’t wait to continue on the journey with Alex and Cleo in Knife’s Edge.  I would recommend reading Compass South before diving into Knife’s Edge, only because it will give you a fuller reading experience to know the background story. Between Hope Larson’s engaging narrative/dialogue and Rebecca Mock’s beautiful and detailed illustrations the story truly came to life.

In Knife’s Edge, twelve-year-old twins, Alex and Cleo, along with the help of family heirlooms and the crew of the Almira set sail on another thrilling adventure in search of lost treasure. Upon setting sail with Captain Tarboro, they know they are heading to danger, as their nemesis pirate Felix Worley is also on the hunt for the same treasure.

 You can’t help but cheer on for our two heroes, Alex and Cleo, as they use their wits, cleverness and family heirlooms to solve the riddles and puzzles throughout their journey.

If danger and peril weren’t enough to worry about, the twins must also overcome their “growing pains”, as for the first time in their lives, it becomes clear to them that they’re different genders will cause them to be at odds with one another.

Alex is ready to take up the life of a sailor, but Cleo struggles to find a place for herself in a mainly male dominated world. I am glad the author did not shy away from putting some sibling tension in her story, as it made the characters seem more realistic.

The underlying theme of “finding oneself” and “identity” is subtle but comes off loud and clear.  I enjoyed the parallel between the twins seeking treasure while at the same time  “seeking” themselves and their own way in the world.

Reading graphic novels is a relatively new to me. I am so very glad I decided to start reading them on a more regular basis. Knife’s Edge had a little bit of everything, from pirates, to family drama, adventure, danger, and even a little bit of (innocent) romance too.

Readers of all ages should enjoy this quick, fun read. Everyone should be able to relate to the theme of “finding yourself and your place in the world”.  I highly recommend both Compass South and Knife’s Edge for middle grade readers and anyone who loves pirates and adventure books.

 


 

 

Follow the Tour: 

6/26 — Love Is Not a Triangle
6/27 — Here’s to Happy Endings
6/28 — Never 2 Many 2 Read
6/29 — Librarian’s Quest
6/30 — The Windy Pages
7/3 — The Plot Bunny
7/4 — Undeniably Book Nerdy
7/5 — The Novel Hermit
7/6 — The Hiding Spot

Graphic Novel Review: Hilda and The Stone Forest by Luke Pearson

Graphic Novel Review: Hilda and The Stone Forest by Luke PearsonHilda and the Stone Forest by Luke Pearson
Published by Flying Eye Books on October 4th 2016
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Middle Grade
Pages: 64
Goodreads

Hilda may be grounded, but that won’t stop her from heading off on another daring adventure! But everything is thrown off course when her mother catches her and is dragged along for the ride. Furious with each other, the bickering pair find themselves lost in the land of the trolls, forced to embark on a dangerous journey to make their way home. And to make matters even more difficult, Hilda has to do so . . . as a troll? Buckle your seatbelts for a crazy body-swapping adventure!
Luke Pearson is the artist and writer of the Hilda series of graphic novels. He has fast become one of the leading talents of the United Kingdom and United States comics scene, garnering rave reviews from the New York Times and the School Library Journal. He was the winner of the Young People's Comic category at the British Comic Award in 2012, and he has been nominated for the Eisner Award's Best Publication for Kids and Best Writer/Artist in 2013. He has recently written and storyboarded multiple episodes of the cult classic show Adventure Time. He lives in Bristol, United Kingdom.

Hilda and the Stone Forest is a fast paced, fun and vivid graphic novel. This was my first time reading one of Hilda’s stories and I was completely charmed by her inquisitive nature. In many ways, the curious Hilda reminds me a little of my younger self. I probably didn’t sneak off to as many adventures as Hilda. In this book, Hilda’s mom has had enough of Hilda always being late for dinner. She warns Hilda to not go off again, but when Hilda doesn’t listen her mom decides it’s time for a grounding.

However, grounding Hilda really doesn’t do much to stop her from going off on a new adventure. Things go a little askew when her mom catches her about to jump into a magical portal. They both end up getting sucked in and thrown out of a different opening. Hilda and her mom end up in an eerie stone forest filled with trolls. Together with Twig (Hilda’s adorable pet), they must find their way home. With no magic portal insight though will they ever be able to get home?

I really love how Luke Pearson is able to capture the vitality and curious nature in Hilda. The fully illustrated pages (all the way to the very edges of the page) is visually stunning. These fully illustrated pages really helped to immerse me in the story. The bold and colorful illustrations also gave the story movement and a good pace. As you start to read it, you can already sense from the drawings that Hilda is on the move and on a mission.

Hilda and the Stone Forest is all about bravery, adventure and of the comfort in knowing that our home will always be there to return to no matter how far off we wander. I am so glad I found this story, and I will definitely be checking out the other Hilda books. I highly recommend Hilda and the Stone Forest to readers that enjoy graphic novels full of excitement, adventure, and odd creatures.

Thank you Flying Eye Books for providing me with a review copy in return for my honest review.

Blog Tour and Childrens’ Graphic Novel Review: The Hippopotamister by John Patrick Green

Published by First Second Books, Macmillan Genres: Animals, Children's Picture Book, Graphic Novel, Middle Grade
five-stars

HippoMr_BlogTourBanner

 

Hippopotamister RGBTitle: Hippopotamister by John Patrick Green

  • Edition: Hardcover, 96 pages
  • Published: May 10, 2016 by First Second
  • Characters: Hippo, Red Panda
  • Rating: 5 Stars
  • Goodreads and AmazonMacmillian

Synopsis

The zoo isn’t what it used to be. It’s run-down and falling apart. Hippo hardly ever gets any visitors. So he decides to set off for the outside with his friend Red Panda. To make it in the human world, Hippo will have to become a Hippopotamister: he’ll have to act like a human, get a job, and wear a hat as a disguise. He’s a good employee, whether he’s a construction worker, a hair stylist, or a sous chef. But what he really needs is a job where he can be himself.

About the Author

John Patrick Green grew up on Long Island and has worked in New York City since graduating from the School of Visual Arts with a degree in graphic design. He was the comics consultant for Disney Adventures magazine, where he wrote and often drew the popular Last Laugh feature. John is the co-creator and illustrator of the graphic novel series Jax Epoch and the Quicken Forbidden and Teen Boat!, both with writer Dave Roman. He has also worked as a writer, illustrator, or designer on comics and graphic novels for Nickelodeon Magazine, DreamWorks, Scholastic Graphix, and DC Comics. John lives in Brooklyn with zero cats and way too many LEGOs.

Review

Hippopotamister is a charming story about two animal friends, Hippo and Red Panda. Hippo finds himself tired of his surroundings and without purpose in a zoo that is falling apart and has no visitors. Red Panda is also done with living at the zoo and convinces Hippo that he could find both of them jobs in the “outside” world. As the story proceeds, we see a series of different types of jobs that they both try to do. Hippopotamister has lots of silly parts especially with how poorly the Red Panda does at the different jobs which is sure to make even the oldest of readers giggle. Hippo seems to have a natural gift for doing a great job at just about anything he tries, but nothing seems to quite fit (plus Red Panda keeps getting them fired due to his poor work). Young readers are sure to delight in the silliness of this book but there are good lessons and morals cleverly sneaked into this story by its talented author John Patrick Green.

The pacing of the story is just right, and though 96 pages might seem like a lot but they actually fly by. The story is so engaging that there should be no issue with getting through it in one sitting. The artwork though seemingly simple is bold, detailed and colorful. I can see why the illustrations would greatly appeal to lots of readers. I loved that when you reach the end of the story Hippo does find a purpose for himself that also helps his friends at the zoo. He even finds something for Red Panda to do and that fits him perfectly. The drawing lesson at the end of the book will engage young readers to draw their own Hippo and Red Panda and to follow their own creative whim as to what adventures the Hippo and Red Panda could have next.

Hippopotamister is a fantastic and sweet story about friendship, never giving up, the importance of how everything we learn could one day be useful to us and so much more. Filled with hilarious shenanigans and a creative outlet for readers of all ages, Hippopotamister is sure to be a hit. I highly recommend it. 

HippoMr-chef1

**A special thank you to Nori from Read Write Love 28 and Gina from First Second Books /Macmillan for the opportunity to read this adorable book. 

Don’t forget to check out the other blogs on the tour!

May 10, 2016: Perusing Pages
May 11, 2016: Pages Unbound
May 12, 2016: Melanie Hays
May 13, 2016: Midwestern Book Nerd
May 14, 2016: Charmingly Simple
May 15, 2016: 
Novel Cravings
May 16, 2016: Bookish Babes
May 17, 2016: Bumbles and Fairy-Tales
May 18, 2016: Book Stacks Amber
May 19, 2016: Lyseofllyr
May 20, 2016: M & Em Read
May 21, 2016: Trisha Jenn Reads
May 22, 2016: Twirling Book Princess
May 23, 2016: The Whimsical Mama
May 25, 2016: The Vivacious Hobo
May 26, 2016: Fangirl Confessions
May 27, 2016: The Plot Bunny
May 28, 2016: Reading With Cupcakes
May 29, 2016: Hermit Librarian
May 30, 2016: The Kindred Reader
May 31, 2016: Polished Page Turners

*I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.

five-stars

Middle Grade Graphic Novel ARC Review: Science Comics: Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean by Maris Wicks

Middle Grade Graphic Novel ARC Review: Science Comics: Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean by Maris WicksScience Comics: Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean by Maris Wicks
Published by First Second on March 29th 2016
Genres: Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Nonfiction, Science
Pages: 128
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Every volume of Science Comics offers a complete introduction to a particular topic--dinosaurs, coral reefs, the solar system, volcanoes, bats, flying machines, and more. These gorgeously illustrated graphic novels offer wildly entertaining views of their subjects. Whether you're a fourth grader doing a natural science unit at school or a thirty-year-old with a secret passion for airplanes, these books are for you!
This volume: in Coral Reefs, we learn all about these tiny, adorable sea animals! This absorbing look at ocean science covers the biology of coral reefs as well as their ecological importance. Nonfiction comics genius Maris Wicks brings to bear her signature combination of hardcore cuteness and in-depth science.

CoralReefs_blogtour

First Second is an imprint company under Macmillan. They just celebrated their ten-year publishing anniversary in March and released the first volumes of their new series Science Comics. Have your every thought that a graphic novel could be both entertaining and educational? They definitely can be, and Science Comics proves this with their new and brightly illustrated graphic novels series. I volunteered to participate in the blog tour for one of their first volumes Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean written and illustrated by Maris Wicks and I was blown away with how much I learned from it, but also laughed and giggled too. I loved that the author took into account the importance of keeping her younger readers entertained while actually teaching them valuable facts.

Science Comics Coral Reefs RGB

Throughout Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean we have an adorable tiny fish guide (a yellow-prawn goby to be exact). This friendly and perky eyeglass wearing little fish is bursting with information to share with us, and together we embark on a colorful exploration of the Coral Reef. There are five chapters: What is Coral?, How and Where Coral Reefs Are Formed, The Coral Reef Ecosystem Explored!, How are Coral Reefs Connected To The Rest of The Planet? And Little Reefs, Big Plant Challenges, Changes and Taking Charge! We learn all sorts of interesting facts throughout the comic, like how coral belongs to a large group of animals called invertebrates…and YES! Coral is an ANIMAL, not a plant! We also learn about the special symbiotic relationship coral has with microscopic algae named Zooxanthellae, which actually is responsible for the vivid colors of the coral. Cool right?

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The pages of this comic are filled with awesome facts like these, and though it is technically “teaching” us something, it feels relaxed and fun. I remember what it was like being in school and having to remember facts from boring textbooks, it was tedious. This is why these Science Comics are fabulous, they make learning happen naturally and with a fun aspect that most kids would not see as a chore. I also loved all the bold colors, and the various detailed charts and drawings illustrating the life cycles of the coral, the difference between coral species etc. I am a visual learner and it was nice to actually see these drawings and not just read about them.

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I think it was great that the topic of  humans impact on the coral reefs and ocean were also addressed in this comic. It is a call to action to take note of the harmful effects of climate change and pollution have on the ocean, and on the coral. As humans, we depend so much on the ocean for not just food (all those yummy fish) but also did you know that “for every 10 breaths we take seven of them are thanks to the ocean?” In this part of the comic helpful suggestions are given to the reader of how they can help cut down on the harmful effects of climate change and pollution. I think this was really done well. It gives the reader a feeling of purpose and that they can make a change/make things better, and I think it’s a lovely way to teach children about having a cause to believe in and how they can make a difference.

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Before the comic comes to a close our little guide addresses all the amazing discoveries we humans have been able to make in healthcare, ocean exploration, even better swimsuits, and cars because of coral and many of the ocean’s inhabitants. Our new fishy friend ends with a heartfelt goodbye (along with some of the other cute characters from the comic too) and we are left with a few more tidbits of information: a glossary, detailed drawings of the inside of coral polyp, a bibliography and a list of other additional resources both online and in print.

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I was super impressed with how much I enjoyed reading Coral Reef: Cities of the Ocean. It was beautifully illustrated, it was fun to read and I was surprised by how much new information I learned from a middle-grade book. The author Marius Wicks does a fantastic job engaging her reader with not only just facts but also with humor and dazzling bright illustrations (I loved all the cute little fishes and sea creatures). I think this is a great resource to use by teachers, students, parents and all those who wish to learn more about the coral reef, the ocean and all the treasures it holds. I wish it could have been around when I was a kid, it definitely would have made learning more entertaining.

About the Author

Maris Wicks is a writer and illustrator of science comics, as well as a self-proclaimed gigantic nerd. She has written, drawn, and colored comics for First Second Books, New England Aquarium and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, as well as Spongebob Comics, Marvel Comics, and DC Comics. Wicks is the illustrator of The New York Times Bestselling book Primates (2013), written by Jim Ottaviani. Her latest graphic novel, Human Body Theater (2015), is a 240-page rollicking romp through the major systems of the human body (told in comics format, of course). Her next book, Coral Reefs, debuts March 29, 2016. Wicks also has an ongoing collaboration with science communicator/comic artist Rosemary Mosco to bring you Your Wild City, a weekly webcomic about urban ecology.

>When she is not busy making comics, Wicks can be found prepping slides for her collection of vintage microscopes, traveling, scuba diving, hiking, and baking cookies (though never all of those things all at once). She was a part-time program educator at the New England Aquarium for eight years, teaching kids about how awesome marine science is. Now, her work in science education and outreach continues into her comics work: Wicks will be doing scientific outreach for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution onboard the R/V Atlantis for an upcoming expedition in March/April 2016.

 Follow Maris’s adventures on Twitter , Tumblr and Instagram.

Special Thanks

Nori of readwritelove28.com  and Gina Gagliano from Macmillan for the opportunity to participate in this book tour as well as my very own copy of Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean (in return for an honest review).

 

You can check out the other blogs participating on the tour here:

Schedule:

Name Blog/Website/Library/School/Etc Date of Post (April)
Lizzi xbelleofthebooks.com 11
Briana Pages Unbound (http://pagesunbound.wordpress.com) 12
Stephanie Torina http://readingwithcupcakes.blogspot.com/ 13
Margie http://bumblesandfairytales.blogspot.com 14
Kristine Hall http://kristinehallways.blogspot.com 15
Jessica Harker http://spinesandcovers.com/ 18
Tanya bookishbabes.wordpress.com 19
Kaitlyn H No blog but Twitter.com/achubbybookworm 20
Marcilia Loubach www.theplotbunny.com 21
Mia Swartz Www.Mandemread.blogspot.com 22
Cody Roecker www.roeckerreviews.blogspot.com 25
Heather DeFilippis http://hermitlibrarian.blogspot.com 26
Amber Mann http://bookstacksamber.wordpress.com 27
Sierra Davenport sdavreads.wordpress.com 28
Martika www.fangirlavue.blogspot.com 29
five-stars