Archive for Graphic novel

The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Big Birthday Bash

Written and illustrated by Frank Cammuso

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In this delightful graphic novel, young witch Salem Hyde and her cat companion Whammy prepare for their friend Edgar’s birthday party. Meanwhile, they are also battling their archenemy, Shelly. First, the reader gets to know Salem and her magic a little bit. She makes herself bigger and then runs out of magic before she can shrink back. Next, Salem has to get past Shelly and the fact that she’s hidden Salem’s invitation to the party. On an excursion to buy Edgar’s present, their misadventures continue with major brain freeze from slushees and Shelly confronting them at the toy store. Plus, they have no money. When they finally get to the party, Salem does her best to make it a great day for Edgar. Of course, her spells backfire and she has to correct for some of them. She tries to make the party big but ends up shrinking the attendees instead. Whammy is almost served up as dinner to some baby birds.

The lively and exciting panels pull the reader in and should hold their attention. They also provide a great backdrop to increase comprehension for second graders and up. Friendship and getting along are strong and subtle themes of this work. The author’s website,, provides information on author visits and about all his books.

  • Big Birthday BashTitle: The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Big Birthday Bash
  • Author/Illustrator: Frank Cammuso
  • Publisher: Amulet/Abrams, 2013
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 94 pages
  • Genre: Graphic novel, fiction, fantasy, humor
  • ISBN: 978-1-4197-1025-4

Crankee Doodle

Written by Tom Angleberger

Illustrated by Cece Bell

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Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a pony.  Why?  Well, read the book and find out!  Just kidding.  Apparently, he was bored.  His pony suggested a trip to town and the story begins.  Why go to town?  Well, maybe to buy a feather for his hat.  Call it macaroni?  Really?  Apparently “’macaroni’ is just another word for ‘fancy’”.  Hmmmm, isn’t that interesting?  This book is full of ‘interesting’ information.

This graphic novel was written on a second grade reading level, but older children would enjoy it.  There are so many classroom applications for this book that I am not sure where to begin.  Writing sequence is an important lesson.  Crankee Doodle starts with “first” and moves on to “second” when asking his pony why he would want to call his hat macaroni.  Teaching social skills may be as important as teaching reading skills.  When Crankee Doodle tells his pony that he smells bad, the pony has a bit of a meltdown.  This is an excellent opportunity to teach children about appropriate communication and how our words can hurt.  It is also a chance to teach children how to deal with hurtful words.  The word choices can make comprehension a little tough for struggling readers sometimes.  However, the format makes it interesting enough to keep their attention.

Crankee Doodle is short enough so that most readers would be able to push through, even if a little frustrated.  It has just enough complexity in its storyline to keep even advanced readers interested, but not too much to confuse struggling readers.  The graphic novel style will appeal to a wide audience, young and old.

Author Tom Angleberger is also the author of the Origami Yoda books.  All kinds of fun stuff, as well as other books, can be found at his website (  Illustrator Cece Bell is both an illustrator and author.  Her website ( has information about her other works, as well as her blog.

  • Crankee DoodleTitle:  Crankee Doodle
  • Author:  Tom Angleberger
  • Illustrator:  Cece Bell
  • Publisher: Clarion Books
  • Reviewer:  Sandi Waymire
  • Hardcover:  unpaged
  • ISBN: 978-0-547-81854-2
  • Genre:  contemporary fiction
  • Lexile score:  450

The Missing Cuckoo Clock (Summer Camp Science Mysteries Series)

Written by Lynda Beauregard

Illustrated by Der-Shing Helmer

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It’s Megan’s first year at Camp Dakota. There are campers to meet and mysteries to solve. What happened to the cuckoo clock? Why can’t the campers stay on top of the beach ball in the water? How come Megan is taller in the morning than she is at night? Gravity rules in Book #5 of the Summer Camp Science Mysteries Series.

The Missing Cuckoo Clock is a graphic novel that will delight reluctant readers in the second grade level. Multi-cultural campers are depicted in a bold graphic style. The text is entertaining and educational. With more educational material than an average comic book, it will also be appreciated by teachers.

The storyline acts as a pegboard on which to hang real-life examples of gravity in action. Blue fact boxes scattered through the cartoon panels offer explanations about how gravity works. Camp Dakota campers watch as lifeguard J.D. demonstrates centre of gravity. They giggle as they try to stand against a wall with heels together and try to pick up a quarter on the floor. They make a gravity clock with water. Each of the mini-experiments found throughout the story can be easily be duplicated by teachers and students.

A glossary and gravity fact list are found at the back of the novel. There are also two official experiments for second grade students to perform. In “Uphill Battle”, they can see how gravity makes a round object roll uphill. In “Making a Pendulum”, students test changes in weight and length against the swing rate.

This is a fun book liberally sprinkled with serious science!

  • Missing Cuckoo ClockTitle: The Missing Cuckoo Clock
  • Author: Lynda Beauregard
  • Illustrator: Der-Shing Helmer
  • Publisher: Graphic Universe
  • Reviewer: Megan Kopp
  • Paperback: 48 Pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-4677-0733-6
  • Genre: Mystery / Science / Graphic Novel

The Little Prince: The Planet of the Night Globes

Adapted by Guillaume Dorison

Artistic Direction by Didier Poli

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Antoine De Saint-Exupery’s beloved masterpiece gets updated. The Little Prince ( is one of the most loved books on the planet. Five years ago the author’s estate decided to revive the story with a series of new adventures presented in a graphic novel format.

What is a graphic novel? Will Eisner describes it as “sequential art, ….a series of illustrations which, when viewed in order, tell a story.” A graphic novel is story and art tied together. Educators, parents,and  librarians are realizing the readability factor that a graphic novel has. Readers as young as first and second graders are drawn to the wonderfully drawn illustrations and stay to read the words.

The format has changed, but the characters stay true to the original. There the Little Prince was responsible only for his tiny planet — Asteroid B612. Now he feels himself responsible for other stars and planets too. In The Planet of the Night Globes the Little Prince comes up against the Globes — strange creatures who seek food in the dark of the night. When Laudion, the lamp maker, lights up the city night and day, the Globes cannot get to their food. The townspeople perceive the Globes as a threat.

The Little Prince and Fox get to the bottom of that mystery. Laudion is shown for what he is, and also shown what he can be. “You’re not my enemy, Laudion. My real enemy is the snake, who took advantage of the fear that was eating at you and making you so miserable.” Laudion performs the last heroic deed that saves the planet.

“We’re always afraid of what we don’t understand. Courage doesn’t mean getting rid of our fear, but finding a way to rise above it.” The philosophy of the original continues in the new graphic stories. A worthwhile addition to all reading lists.


Additional Resources:


The Little Prince turns 70:

  • Little Prince Planet of Night GlobesTitle: The Little Prince: The Planet of the Night Globes
  • Adapted by: Guillaume Dorison
  • Artistic Director: Didier Poli
  • Publisher: Graphic Universe a Division of Lerner Publishing
  • Reviewer: Anjali Amit
  • Paperback:  56 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-4677-0738-1
  • Genre: Fantasy