Thursday, March 13, 2014

Graphic Novel: Welcome to the Tribe! Tib & Tumtum #1 by Grimaldi and Bannister

Welcome to the Tribe! (Tib & Tumtum) by Grimaldi. Illustrated by Bannister. Minneapolis, MN; Graphic Universe; 2013. 48 pages.

Tib belongs to the Big Rock Tribe of cavepeople. Despite being a member of a tribe, he feels as though he doesn't really belong - it mostly has to do with the odd-shaped, red, round birthmark on his eye - which all the other kids in the tribe make fun of. Tib's parents just don't understand, so he wanders off into the woods to be alone for a while and runs head-first into a dinosaur! Just one problem... aren't dinosaurs supposed to be extinct? This dinosaur in particular seems friendly enough as he begins to follow Tib around, which is when Tib realizes that they both have similar markings on their faces - wait until all the members of his tribe see his dinosaur! No such luck. Just when Tib thinks that he will be able to share his dinosaur, that same dinosaur manages to find a way to hide! Tib tries every trick in the book to get members of his tribe to meet his him, but he is just too good at hiding. Nevertheless, Tib and Tumtum the Dinosaur still end up having many fun adventures together - even though everyone thinks he doesn't exist!
The comic book is very funny and the accompanying illustrations just add to the hilarity. Grimaldi's story is very thoughtfully put together with an important message about friendship and not caring what somebody looks like on the outside. Bannister's drawings are clever and full of action, bringing Tib and Tumtum to life on the pages. Readers of all ages will enjoy this color-panel comic.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Book: Ready for a Scare - Creepover Series - by PJ Night

Ready for a Scare? (You're Invited to a Creepover) by P.J. Night. Minneapolis, MN; Simon Spotlight, 2011. 160 pages.
Volume 3 in the You're Invited to a Creepover series.

Middle school student and self-proclaimed Queen of Scares, Kelly Garcia was supposed to have an awesome sleepover with her friends Paige and June to celebrate her birthday. Unfortunately, when she got home and found her brother home alone she learned that her parents are stuck out of town due to a snowstorm and she and her ten year old brother are stuck with a babysitter. Then, things only got worse when her mom informed her that there would be no sleepover and that it would have to be postponed. Kelly instantly got on her IM and contacted her friends to vent her frustrations, which is when she came up with the idea to have a webcam sleepover.

Things seem to be going great, even her friend Spencer and his new friend Gavin joined in the online party. Things started off with a scary tale told by Gavin and then they decided to summon the dead, which led to Kelly remembering the name of a local girl who died in the snow; it seemed like fate drew them together because Kelly's mother was researching Mary Owens for an article in her column. The group chants her name thirteen times while spinning around in a circle... that's when things start to get really scary. Did they really manage to summon Mary's spirit? Just what is going on?! What is happening to her friends - why do they keep disappearing?

P.J. Night's descriptive writing style does a good job of setting the scene and drawing the reader into the story. Those who are brave enough to give this book a try will definitely be in for a scary experience.

This book is probably best suited for readers who aren't scared of the dark - grades 3 through 7 as there are a few mildly "scary" moments in the book not suitable for younger readers. The book also introduces the idea of a virtual sleepover and has the kids using webcams, which may not be a topic that some parents want to introduce their children to until a conversation about Internet safety occurs...