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5 Characters More Miserable Than You

by Christine A - 0 Comment(s)

Lately I've noticed that no matter how funny or fantastic my choice of book may be the main character always has a rough life. That's my favourite story really: boy (or girl!) from nowhere makes good. Who doesn't love a story about someone overcoming adversity? So in the following descriptions I've included an Adversity Check List, letting you know just how unhappy the protagonist is...

Doll Bones by Holly BlackDoll Bones by Holly Black

√ Poor
√ Abandoned by One or Both Parents
√ Physical Hardship

12-year-old Zach escapes into fantasy because he’s unhappy at home. His dad abandoned the family to pursue dreams of fame and fortune. Zach hadn’t seen him in years. Now he's back and thinks he’s going to tell Zach how to live his life. He doesn’t want a son who plays with dolls, so while Zach is at school he throws all Zach's action figures in the garbage. Zach is so upset by the loss of his fantasy characters he can’t talk about it, not even to his two best friends until they all start having nightmares about a creepy bone china doll. It tells them her human soul is imprisoned in the doll and that the friends must go on a quest to return her to her grave... or else! The trio decide they will go on a real life quest no matter what the danger or how far it leads them from home.


Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie RyanThe Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

√ Poor
√ Horror (Zombies!)
√ Orphaned by One or Both Parents
√ Unrequited or Thwarted Love
√ Physical Hardship

This book is Divergent meets The Walking Dead. The world as we know it ended seven generations ago when humans tried to conquer death. Our quest to live forever brought about an undead plague that destroyed our civilization. 16-year-old Mary, our heroine, lives in a tiny village in the heart of a vast, dark forest, surrounded by a chain link fence that keeps the “Unconsecrated” dead out and the living imprisoned inside. Her life is further circumscribed by her community’s archaic traditions enforced by the Sisterhood. The Sisterhood determines who you marry, where you can live, even how many children you can have. Things seem pretty bleak until one day a redheaded girl from the outside world appears at the gate. She’s immediately captured by the Sisterhood and despite Mary’s efforts to free her, the outsider disappears...

Far Far Away by Tom McNealFar Far Away by Tom McNeal

√ Poor
√ Persecuted
√ Orphaned by One or Both Parents
√ Unrequited or Thwarted Love
√ Physical Hardship
√ Horror

Mr. Johnson became a shut-in when his wife ran off with another man, leaving his shy son Jeremy to financially support them both. Jeremy has a special ability though--he can hear ghosts. One famous, ancient ghost becomes his surrogate father, encouraging him to study hard, get into university, and hopefully live happily ever after. When Jeremy falls for the local Amazon, Ginger, they play a little prank on the neighbourhood baker leading to Jeremy's ostracism by the townspeople and his capture by a serial killer.

Immortal Lycanthropes by Hal JohnsonImmortal Lycanthropes by Hal Johnson

√ Ugly
√ Persecuted
√ Friendless
√ Orphaned by One or Both Parents
√ Physical Hardship
√ Horror

A shameful fact about humanity is that some people can be so ugly that no one will be friends with them. It is shameful that humans can be so cruel, and it is shameful that humans can be so ugly. It would be easy to paint a sob story here, but I am trying to remain objective. So: Myron Horowitz, short, scrawny, and hideous, had no friends. From page 1 of Immortal Lycanthropes

As you’ve probably figured out, Myron gets bullied a lot but luckily it turns out Myron is an immortal lycanthrope. A lycanthrope is not a werewolf, but rather a were-mammal that can assume human form. This is an exciting and strangely hilarious story that actually ends all in one book—no waiting 5 years for the series to end!

Plain Kate by Erin BowPlain Kate by Erin Bow

√ Ugly
√ Poor
√ Persecuted
√ Friendless
√ Orphaned by One or Both Parents
√ Physical Hardship
√ Horror

Katarina Svetlana is an orphan with mismatched eyes, barely surviving in the eastern European village of Samilae. Despite her unfortunate circumstances, Plain Kate has an extraordinary skill: the ability to carve exquisite amulets which the villagers say will ward off evil and bring good luck. But once illness and hunger scourge the land, they start calling Plain Kate “witch-blade,” taking her artistry and unattractiveness as evidence she is a real witch that must be burned in the town square. After a neighbour tries to murder her with an axe, Kate gives the mysterious sorcerer Linay her shadow in exchange for her heart’s wish. This book was written by Canadian award-winning author Erin Bow.

Great Graphix for 2014—Bleak, Bizarre and Beautiful continued

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

It may be a bit early to think of this year's Comic Con coming up in April however Camilla d'Errico's 2nd volume of Tanpopo is just hitting the stacks sooo... I thought it might be appropriate to highlight some great new and old additions to the fabulous Teen Graphix collection we have. Tanpopo is a 3 volume story of a girl raised by a machine-driven mind prison, who frees herself and goes on a journey of emotional and intellectual self discovery guided by a "boy" who is either a devil or trickster character or both. D'Erricco uses text from Goethe's "Faust"(and it is a Faustian journey that Tanpopo embarks on!!), Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio by Liaozhai Zhiyi.

Goethe started writing Faust when he was 19 and finished it a week before his death - how's that for the work of your life? Camilla uses the text and re-contextualizes it to create her own poetic story, complete with her sparse but beautiful comic illustrations all rendered with a fine point acrylic brush. Hailing from Vancouver d'Erricco has also published a YA graphic novel called Burn and several books of her art. One of which I just happened to get hand autographed with a drawing of her own when I met her at last year's Comic Con. (I'm sure she'll do the same for you if you go this year, nudge, nudge), she is, generous like that, and cool; hence me being so excited about her latest release. Did I mention that she snowboards and makes her art into designs for cell phone skins, laptops, snowboards, dresses, leggings, chairs, wallets, make-up cases and toys for the likes of Haysbor, Disney, Tokyopop, Neil Gaiman and the ilk. Her HelmetHeads paintings have a sweet pop sensibility to them. She's even published a book about how to emulate the same in your own comics. This could perhaps... hint, hint... be used as an inspiration to submit a comic of your own to our TeensCreate page, just sayin'....

Speaking of literary pop sensibilities; did you know that Frank L. Baum actually wrote not just 1 but 11 OZ novels? And not all starting in Kansas... Eric Shanower and artist Skottie Young have turned them into a series of great graphic novels for your eyes to enjoy. I think perhaps in an alternate universe D'Erricco's Tanpopo and Skottie Young's Dorothy and Ozma could all be sisters. The wonders of OZ never cease ;p

To conclude our brief but delectable journey, a great version of Faust has just been republished and acquired here at CPL. The illustrations by Harry Clarke hail from the Art Nouveau era (think Aubrey Beardsley) creating a visual feast that rivals the Steampunky details of d'Errico's HelmetHeads. So if you like Tanpopo you just might enjoy. Happy Reading!

 

Steampunk H.G. Wells, Wollstonecraft and Poe? Yes please!

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Not had enough of things that creep in the dark post-Halloween? Ready to start designing next year's costume? Zdenko Basic's New Steampunk Series puts the ghostliness into the steam. It includes Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds, and Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven, amongst others.

Each book features a SHORT insightful introduction which gives some interesting tidbits about each author's life as well as some historical context. Lushly illustrated with which creep their mood from mechanical to ghostly to gory, there's plenty here to fuel the steam engine of your imagination. Especially if you are a Steampunk fan. And if you've never heard of Steampunk before but like horror and gore this might just turn your crank enough to start dreaming of making Next year's Halloween costume involve gears, lace and, rivets.

I'm sure you can imagine and design your own steampunk characters or dress up your favourite YA Hero/Heroine. What would a Steampunk Katniss or Harry wear???

Soooooo... design a costume and photograph yourself or draw your favourite YA character Steampunk style and submit these to our TeensCreate page! These books may help: Steampunk Fashion & How To Draw Steampunk. For further inspiration check out CPL's great and growing Steampunk Collection. Then continue the adventure by reading Kady Cross's Steampunk Chronicle's trilogy starting with The Girl in The Steel Corset, (which includes many descriptions of awesome Steampunk outfits...) and finish with Legacy of the Clockwork Key by Kristin Bailey. May your engines be well oiled!

Fall into Graphics - Bleak Bizarre & Beautiful continued...

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

For the purposes of this post let's expand "Graphic Novels" to include books that have Great Graphics in them, and are a cabinet of curiosities in and of themselves! Admittedly, these are not technically graphic novels, but are still well worth it!

Let's start with The Curiosities, a collection of stories compiled for the most part from a blog started by 3 YA all-stars: Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton & Brenna Yovanoff. Its purpose is to challenge the authors with weekly writing exercises outside of their current novels in progress; this great collection of short stories includes many drawings and, fun, hand-written notes by fellow authors commenting (often sarcastically), on the writing of their peers.

Highlights include..... A diagram of Brenna's brain, 5 signs of a Maggie story (angst, cars, sarcasm, kissing, geniuses), drawings of each of their respective work spaces; (Yovanoff's includes just a ghost, a chair and, a monster coffee mug...), and comparative charts of their average story lengths (Tessa's being a ladder to the sky that never ends); complete with snide comments on the side. ;0)-

And if you're squeamish... this book is not quite as creepy as the original Cabinet of Curiosities. Trust me...

Venturing into fairyland; Wish by Beth Bracken & Kay Fraser includes sumptuously illustrated pages in full colour making you feel like you are reading through someone's fancy fairy journal.

Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman, features black & white engravings by master carver John Lawrence, as well as photos of newspaper clippings and bills giving it an old time, 1800's, steampunky feel. This short book gives you some unknown background into the characters featured in Pullman's His Dark Materials Series (The Golden Compass).

Unnatural Creatures is a great new book of short stories out by Neil Gaiman dealing with curious creatures such as griffins, sunbirds and werewolves. Titles include such curiosities such as "The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees" & "Ozioma The Wicked".

And speaking of Mr. Gaiman... Guess who's coming to town on February 24th to speak for the Calgary Distinguished Writer's Program?..??? for FREE! Yes, that's right folks - get your (Free!) tickets on-line on October 24th at 12 noon sharp to make sure you don't miss out!

Mr. Gaiman recently presented a speech about the importance of imagination and science fiction to our culture. Check it out here! And remember to enter our All Hallow's Read contest for a chance to win one of his books, plus another scary title to give away.

Based on the acclaimed animated film Amaqqut nunaat = The Country of Wolves is a centuries old Inuit folktale that is beautifully retold by Neil Christopher and hauntingly illustrated by Ramon Perez.

Being so close to Halloween I would feel somewhat amiss if I failed to mention that we also have 2 brand NEW Graphic novels versions of two of Edgar Allen Poe's classics; The Pit and The Pendulum, & The Tell-Tale Heart . Happy Hallowed Reading!

nevermore

Finding My Way Eyre

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

I admit that when I first saw Jane it was the cover that initially caught my attention, and that this was the first "Jane Eyre" book I ever read. Not that my friends had not been recommending the book ever since, oh - Grade 9! They did, I just... never got around to it. So when this beautiful moody cover caught my eye, I decided to make a go of it. This retelling by April Lindner, is set in NY with an art school dropout who becomes a nanny and falls for... a famous rock star. I was not disappointed. The book is great! Emma the BookAngel has even made a soundtrack for the book! Hot on its heels, I was putting holds on Catherine, Lindner's remake of Wuthering Heights. Also set in modern NY, this time with the daughter of the owner of a very famous night club as ‘Catherine’!

Then, it just so happened that the graphic novel remake of Jane Eyre landed in my lap. So I read that next, super curious to compare Jane to its original without delay. From my experiences with Manga Shakespeare I knew that reading the graphic novel is a great way to introduce oneself to a classic right away. No fuss, no problem, no big time commitment and no trouble understanding what's going on. I highly recommend it for all your Shakespeare assignments - plus any other classics you are asked to read for English class. Not because the originals aren't great, but rather because they ARE. It's great to have something on hand that can clarify what is going on, allowing you to focus on appreciating the book rather than struggling through it.

So finally yes, I actually read Jane Eyre after all these years. First off, for all the fashionistas out there I want to mention that the version that I read was a Couture edition by Penguin Classics - with cover and images designed by fashion designer Ruben Toledo = perfectly moody graphics!

Classics are classics for a reason and are generally good ground for expounding upon; they become a post-modernist's delightful playground (think Mash-Ups). I admit however that some classics are so stuffy that it's almost impossible to penetrate through their dense or obscure language and receive their enlightening rays of nectar and fruits of insight. Jane Eyre is, refreshingly, not, especially if read with a poetic eye and a philosopher's heart. There were words I was unfamiliar with but I found this antipathetically refreshing - welcome nectar to a vocabulary that has been thirsting for expansion. One learns to write by reading. One gleans semi-archaic vocabulary by reading semi-archaic tomes. (ha,ha).

Jane Eyre is moody and romantic. It arouses a passion of spirit, a storminess of temperament which, like the novel itself, is quite satisfying in its quietude. Jane herself is like that calm before the storm... Mr. Rochester the storm... Jane again, like the rain that pours down quenching your thirst with the ether of sweet negative electricity that bathes the air after lightning.

Jane Eyre contains phrases such as, "Her soul sat on her lips and language flowed", and thoughts such as "Then, my sole relief was to walk along the corridor of the third storey, backwards, and forwards, safe in the silence and solitude of the spot, and allow my mind's eye to dwell on whatever bright visions rose before it... to open my inward ear to a tale that never ended - a tale my imagination created, and narrated continuously; quickened with all of incident, life, fire, feeling, that I desired and had not in my actual existence." Jane is a formidable character. At the end of the book I found myself wishing I had read it when I was in Grade 9! Through tumultuous and harrowing experiences she has such a sense of her own self worth, and is so grounded; it would have been welcome food back then. I'll warn you though, that the book is a bit preachy in the last few pages. That said, the rest of the books is so fabulous that's it's worth that little bit at the end. I encourage you to read and enjoy!

Other Eyre remakes to check out include Jane Airhead, A Breath of Eyre, and Wish you Were Eyre. For more advanced adult books, check out Mrs. Rochester, Death of a Schoolgirl, Jane Slayre, and Adele : Jane Eyre's hidden story - a highly interesting remake of Jane Eyre told from Mr. Rochester's ward's perspective.

If you want to find out more about the life of the author (Charlotte Bronte), I recommend the following books as well: Becoming Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre: Portrait of a Life, & Governess: The lives and Times of The Real Jane Eyres. There are also a bunch of renditions of Jane Eyre on DVD to check out. (I've heard the 1986 version is great.) Comments and feedback on your favourite are welcome!

We are all forever haunted... in November

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

This is the time of year when the fog rolls in and coats the land in a blanket of see-through mist. Things become strange and mysterious. Everything is dying. Christian's celebrate All Hallow's Eve and All Saint's Day. Hindus celebrate Diwali (The Festival of Lights). Pagans celebrate Samhain. Muslims celebrate Muharram. All three mark the beginning of a New Year, a new cycle, a new season. Everything goes to sleep, into the ground to await the rebirth of spring. In Greek and Roman mythology Persephone visits Hades. Her mother Demeter refuses to let the sun shine until her daughter returns in the spring. In the west, we celebrate Halloween and Remembrance Day. These are some of the many and varied ways we honour our dead. What better time for ghosts to roam across the field our consciousness? When more apt to recommend a few good ghost stories?

Now, I have a disclaimer to make, and that is that I don't normally DO ghosts, vampires, horror, or zombies ... or ANY of their ilk as a matter of fact. I have disclaimed this in previous Halloween blogs, so I think I deserve an A just for reading some ghost stories to recommend to you in the first place. I have been doing my best. I recently wrote a blog on Zombies, then I endeavoured to ACTUALLY read my first ghost story... not Casper but one bona fide as potentially scary - lightly scary mind you. I wasn't about to traumatize myself. It's been an interesting journey. I had rules. Never read the book at night. Always read the book with other people around. Don't read the book if you need to go into dark creepy corners or haunted woods afterwards... In the end I got so engrossed in the story that I actually ended up breaking all my own rules reading the book on Halloween night, alone, in the dark and... I was fine! I did however skip read ahead to the end when it got "scary" just to see if it was something I could handle, it was. Then, I finished reading all the details. So there you go. If you've never read ghost stories here's a recipe as to how. Similar to dipping your foot into the water to see how cold it is before you jump in. It IS after all my imagination that ends up being the enemy and not the inspirational book, DVD, CD, etc. in and of itself. I now have a theory. Books are much less likely to freak me out than movies or CD's, having I suppose, more control over my thoughts than on the sensory effects of sound and visuals... reading a book does NOT over-activate my negative imagination in the same way. My nerves are apparently more sensitive to visual and auditory stimulation's than that of the linguistical variety. So food for thought, test your own scare-o-meter!

You could start with some innocent fun morsels about friendly ghosts like Casper, Anya's Ghost and Slog's Dad or fake "ghosts" like in Ottoline Goes to School.

Move on to more "fake" ghosts, although beware what you wish for, sometimes "playing" can summon up your worst nightmares! The book I read? Classified as a light scare, All the Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn. I actually quite enjoyed this book. It is a light quick read set in a haunted inn and stars a pair of siblings on vacation. What impressed me most in the end was Downing Hahn's ability to integrate Shakespeare quotes and American history into a novel written for 10-14 year olds seamlessly probing deeper questions regarding history, class-ism, morality and right and wrong. Classically, "ghosts" stick around because they have something they want us humans to do; some inner conflict they need to resolve before they can be at peace. We all have "ghosts" that haunt us. What do they want to us to do? What does it take to make friends, put them at rest, and restore peace? How do we honour the unnamed dead once their histories are brought to light?

You can graduate on with a purportedly really scary read such as Wait t'ill Helen Comes by Downing Hahn or Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendra Blake; then indulge in savouring any of the following morsels which, I admit, have thoroughly intrigued me, but have received many reports about being downright frightening. I am tempted. I might be will just a wee bit obsessed with fairy-tales.... It remains a sad fact that many fairy tales are in-fact quite horrific when it comes right down to it, and VERY well suited to horror novels. In fact, I may have already read one or two without realizing it...

Try Sweetly (Hansel and Gretel) or Sisters Red (Red Riding Hood) by Jackson Pierce for starter fairy-scares.

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff or The Replacement if you want something a little more terrifying.

Following this recipe for jumping into the waters of ghost and horror stories I, unlike you had no intentions of graduating, quite happy to remain forever a student ... or, considering the "fairy-scares ", so I thought!

In the end, aside from "enjoying " a good scare (note sarcasm), the ultimate value of these and stories like "All The Lovely Bad Ones" is that they help teach us how to be psychologically brave.

Good luck with graduating!

In Honour of Zombies, Ghosts, Ghouls... aka Bleak, Bizarre & Beautiful

by Adrienne - 3 Comment(s)

Inspired this past May (which was Zombie Awarenes Month), this post reviews a few graphic novels that fit the theme. Fairies and Ghouls beware! Halloween is fast approaching and Calgary just had it's own Zombie walk on Saturday October 13th! Do you have your costume ready? Or are you a die hard Zombie fan who will wash and recycle their Zombie gear creating environmentally friendly apocalypse wear for All Hallows Eve? For great Zombie books and movies year round check out Alex's great Zombie Awareness Blog from last May.

For now, here are some ghouly graphic novels to get your Halloween grease moving. Grimericks by Susan Pearson and Monster Museum by Marilyn Singer are both illustrated by the lovely Gris Grimly. Think Tony Diterlizzi (The Spiderwick Chronicles) meets Tim Burton (The Nightmare Before Christmas) - on paper. Take MaryLou Jones; the java drinking, peter pan collar, blue polka dotted dress, blonde bob, pilgrim shoe wearing skeleton as a Grimly Zombie example. Both books are filled with witty puns to boot! Singer gets straight to the point with a Zombie poem that teaches us how Zombies "dance" and a ghost poem delineating all the family "types". Pearson's

Recipe for a Grimerick goes:

1 limerick, lightly salted

dash grim

slosh of spook juice

1 cup giggles

3 ripe guffaws

Mix together with 1 funny bone.

Chill in dank cave.

Turn the lights down low.

Lock the doors.

Look under the bed.

Read with relish!

I hate to admit it, but I'm actually not actually into Zombies (I know, I know ... please don't bite me!), I AM however, very into juicy, messy, blotchy, splotchy drawings. How to Draw Zombies a Fantasy Underground book by Mike Butkus & Merrie Destefano, is chock full of them! There is much exquisite mark making here showcasing all the delicate intricacies of the artists hand and/or personality - if you believe in hand writing analysis. Each drawing/painting/digital rendering is broken down step by step so that you can see all the layered marks in isolation like Mr. Dress Up - Zombie style! Anyone up for creating a Zombie Mr. Dress Up art piece? We would love to see your submissions on our Teens Create page. Looking through this gem, I have to admit that Zombies are fine ground for digging in & sketching out all the gory details. Mr. Dress Up challenge aside, if you could draw a Zombie what/who would it be?

Here are photos of Calgary's May 2012 Zombie Walk, and here are the photos for the October zombie walk. Calgary's Zombie community is Awesome!

If that's not enough, these stellar Zombie comics and novels should keep you entranced for awhile:

Plus for former Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans... we currently have Diary of a Zombie Kid on order!

When dealing with ghosts what fits the bill of beautiful? Perhaps when the meaning of a mystery lies in belief being it's own reward? Or perhaps when illustrations tinge on being creepy but really are pretty brilliant comic illustrations. Slog's Dad illustrated by Dave McKean, (who also illustrated The Sandman by Neil Gaiman) is a master at this. Written by David Almond, this graphic novel defies easy categorization or interpretation, embedding itself heavily in enigma.

Always save the best 2 for last, right? Here they are. The winner has to be Zombie's Vs. Unicorns, a great new anthology compiled by Holly Black (Team Unicorn) & Justine Larbalestier (Team Zombie). The two duke it out with witty commentary before each short story and the reader is left to decided who wins, Zombies?? or Unicorns?? This book includes many stars of YA fiction such as Scott Westefeld ( who is Justine's husband, did you know?), Libba Bray & Meg Cabot. Westefeld may have actually been playing in this sandbox for a long time. Ever think of nanos as Zombies? Specials anyone? Kathleen Duey included a particularly haunting addition in which you could most likely classify the Unicorn AS a Zombie. Isn't any creature that has eternal life sort of technically you know - a zombie? I, I admit my Zombie love is growing, fed by Unicorns of course!

Finally, because Halloween should always end with something wholesome - like apples... candied - we will end with Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol. This book could be described as Casper... for 16 year olds, with just the slightest bit of Creepy!! thrown in. If you fell down a well, ... well would you befriend that ghost? Join Anya B as she navigates private school with her ghost. As their friendship develops she discovers that being friends with a shade may or may not be all it's cracked up to be; and that somethings are more important than others. This debut graphic novel written and illustrated by Brogol is Great. It has won numerous awards... for good reason! Long live....

Bleak, Bizarre and Beautiful... New Fairytale Comics!

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

I am happy to report that we have some great new fantasy graphic novels in! The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen being notable among them. Yolen weaves a story around just enough stereotypes to turn them around and come out with a satisfactory egalitarian ending -- a great read. Yolen is one of the most prolific writers of our time, boasting 300+ books to her name (with CPL carrying 40+ of her YA and Adult titles). A great storyteller with a penchant for fantasy and extremely relatable characters, she ranges from writing children's books, to poetry (adult poetry among them), to novels. She has also partnered with many great artists throughout her career, such as Come to the Fairies' Ball illustrated by Gary Lippincott. Sacred Places illustrated by David Shannon is also a notable highlight among her illustrious ilk. In The Last Dragon artist Rebecca Guay fits right in there by creating a visual feast for the eyes with hints of Art Nouveau and the Pre-Raphealites. I like pretty comic books, it's true. Guay has also illustrated Black Pearls A Faerie Strand, a YA novel by Louise Hawes.

Pay the Piper is a modern rock n' roll twist on the Pied Piper -- Modern, urban fantasy at it's best. Another great Pied Piper re-telling that just hit the stacks is The Brixen Witch by Stacey DeKeyser

At the back of the graphic novel The Last Unicorn there is a spread of art by 5 different artists depicting the characters from the story. I'm assuming the artists auditioned to illustrate the final comic. The art was amazing, as were the artists they picked, and it made me wonder how the novel would have been different if illustrated by each artist. A picture is worth a thousand words and this concept - of seeing other artistic possibilities for the same book intrigued me. Then, along comes Spera by Josh Tierney! One graphic novel, one story, illustrated by five different artists, each depicting their own chapter! The most surprising thing about this really is how smoothly the story actually flows from artist to artist, yet each lends a particular flavour, slanting and enhancing the scenes at hand. And for those of you who just can get enough, there's a Volume 2 on order!

Although not new to our collection the following items are more than worth your while.

Castle Waiting is a great comic book that takes elements from fairytales such as 'Sleeping Beauty' and combines them with a good dose of humour and plots about bearded ladies, two-headed girls, pregnancy and hidden libraries... Arthur Rackham makes an appearance as a stork and there are lots of other humorous post-modern references sprinkled throughout. Linda Medley, the author, has been described as Arthur-Rackham-meets-Charles-DeLint-meets-Marvel-comics! I highly recommend her. And there's Castle Waiting II too. Funnily enough the intro is written by... Jane Yolen! Of Medley she says: "Once upon a time, which is how all good fairy tales begin (if you grew up in western culture), a child was born in the rural Salinas area of California. Or Califunny as those of us who live 3000 miles away like to call it. Which, if one were writing a fairytale would be prophetic. If one were drawing a comic, it would come with a banner: Here is born Linda Medley. Then an arrow to a group of trees, Rackham trees. A child sits with her back against the heavy bark, in her lap a drawing pad. There is a newspaper, folded to the comics page by her side, a copy of Grimm Tales... So I feel as if Linda Medley is an old friend who has written Castle Waiting just for me - a feminist fairy tale with attitude, heart, imagination, laughter, love and truth. Er, Truth." I heartily agree!

The Goblin Companion by Brian Froud has long been a standing favourite of mine. Although Froud is famous for his fairies I particularly enjoyed seeing how he would draw a goblin wife, what kind of tools each fool possesses, and in general the rough juiciness of his pencil drawings particularly suits a more ornery subject... such as goblins. Check it out!

Bleak, Bizarre and Beautiful cont... Genius = Kids Books for Adults

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Okay, in addition to Alex's latest blog Poke a Little Fun, in my time here I have noticed that there are many stellar picture books out there that are almost more suitable for an adult audience, in both their stunning content and maturity. The true genius of these books lies in the fact that they manage to span the ages and appeal to all ages. TRUE genius at heart. Here are 4 offerings in that vein.

Three Ladies Beside The Sea by Rhoda Levine illustrated by Edward Gorey who is famous for his darker art and pictures books for adults is a fun tale of 3 sisters with rhyme and metaphor that younger readers may miss and older ones appreciate. Also not to be missed is his humourous, The Epileptic Bicycle.

Elliott, written and illustrated by Tobin Sprout features bleak and beautiful surrealistic paintings accompanying a cute story about finding your calling... when your old life is over. Sprout is also a musician (best know as a former member of the indie rock band Guided by Voices) in addition to being an an artist and writer!

Where in the World by Marie-Francine Hebert and illustrated by Janice Nadeau, is a heart-string pulling tale of what a young girl decides to do and to take with her when her life is all of a sudden usurped by war. Originally written in French, this book's illustrations won the Governor General’s Award for French language picture books. The dedication aptly reads, "For all of you, little or tall, who are working hard to add more soul into the great jar of life."

In the Heart of the Bottle written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers reminds me of the heart imagery in Christina's Perri's video Jar of Hearts ... but as a children's book. A poignant story of how your heart can get into and out of ... a bottle.

Enjoy!

Bleak, Bizarre & Beautiful cont...Art Graphix

by Adrienne - 2 Comment(s)

Okay so it's been quite awhile since I have written a blog in the Bleak, Bizarre and Beautiful vein. In the interim I am happy to report that we at CPL have chalked up a considerably new awesome stock of graphic novels in! Herein are reviews of some of the best graphic novels that have crossed my path over the past few months. They are what I consider to be original in format, art and story;

Here be the latest: ART GRAPHIX!!!

Chopsticks: [A Novel] in pictures & news clips is a mystery that leaves you with plenty of questions. This beautiful new art book/ graphic novel written by Jessica Anthony (who also wrote The Convalescent), photographed and designed by Rodrigo Corral.

Page by Paige is a fun quick read of Paige Turner's adventures in her sketchbook after her family moves to New York. The images and text detail her journey towards becoming an artist. Inventive and profound whilst remaining light, Paige and her friends stir things up a bit as unconventional graffiti-ists "The Agents of Whimsy". Each Chapter is headed up with a new "rule"; rules that will help any aspiring artist to fill up the Page (or just adjust to a new school...)!

How would you use a camera to communicate your view of yourself and the world around you? How do you think your friends would? Please Read (if at all possible) The Girl Project by Kate Engelbrecht is a compilation of photographs and survey submissions that gives snapshot glimpses into the lives of REAL teenage girls... as Not seen on TV. The author of this book speaks to girls, "3 years ago I became fascinated by popular depictions of you. I didn't recognize you. Bratty. Slutty. Spoiled. Vapid. Mean - even vicious.... I didn't see myself in you or even relate to you. After all, I didn't know any teenage girls anymore, and like so many adults, I understood you only through the media...I started the girl project as a way to explore my questions and confusion.. This project has become less about my curiosity of you and more to do with making sure your lives get shared. Your lives are in fact deeply meaningful... I hope you see yourself somewhere in these pages and feel reassured that, in this world, you are not alone."

Cathy's Book by Stewart/Weisman/Brigg is an epistolary (book written in diary format) complete with doodles. pictures and notes inserted. This is one of those books that I picked up to read for five minutes and didn't put down until someone else walked in to the room and I realized what time it was... A fast paced action adventure with an ArtGrrl twist plus plenty of mystery and philosophy on the side. It also features a website and ph# you can call to enhance the story! MY favourite quote from the book reads, "Without us, the world is just things, Cathy. It's our seeing that fills them with meaning. To pay attention is a painter's sacred duty. That's what real prayer is, real meditation: to hold your attention to the world like a match, until it catches with the fire of meaning."

Last but not least Timbuktu based on the novel written by Paul Aster - adapted and illustrated by Julia Goschke - with beautiful paintings and sparse text. Told from Mr. Bones' point of view after his homeless former master passes a way and Mr. Bones tries to adjust to his new life (incidentally, Mr. Bones is a dog). Poignant and real, it brings a different perspective on the freedom of homelessness and a dog's loyalty as he learns, "..that memory was a place, a real place that one could visit, and that to spend a few moments among the dead was not necessarily bad for you, that it could in fact be a source of great comfort and happiness."

Happy Reading!

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