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A Factual Review of Chiggers by Hope Larson
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Review by Scott Tingley, May 25, 2008

Fact #1: Yes, my grade 8 shop teacher was right. I am a very slow worker. This stuff takes me forever.

Fact #2: This is the second book I have reviewed lately that had a body louse as part or all of the title.

Fact #3: Chiggers is Eisner Award winner Hope Larson's third graphic novel, and first with publishing giant, Simon and Shuster (through their imprint, Atheneum).

Fact #4: Larson is an absolute genius with text boxes. Actually, she doesn't actually use them at all - and that is the genius part. She uses shadows, or string or whatever else is in the scene to spell out words instead of using a traditional text box.

Fact #5: She is so much better with speech bubbles than she is with text boxes. It's not that they are all special. Most are perfectly normal, but those special few warrant mentioning. She uses them like they are part of the picture, not like they are just a 'thing' that has to be there.

Fact #6: Those last couple of facts came across pretty lame, so let me try to make you understand one more time. When my grade three class was getting ready to start their big comic to give away on Free Comic Book Day, I scanned samples of the text boxes and speech bubbles to show them. They were pretty impressed and a couple tried to incorporate the ideas into their own work.

Fact #7: Some of these facts are, in fact, opinions.

Fact #8: Most of these facts are, in fact, opinions.

Fact #9: I named this review "A Factual Review of Chiggers, by Hope Larson" because I didn't want the title to say "A Factual Review of Hope Larson's Chiggers"

Fact #10: This is the solicitation information for Chiggers from the publisher's website:

Abby is back at the same old camp she goes to every summer -- except for the fact that this summer, nothing is the same. Her friend Rose is a cabin assistant, her friend Beth is pierced, and now the only person who doesn't seem too cool for Abby is Shasta, the new girl.

Shasta:

1. who is one-eighth Cherokee.

2. who was struck by lightning.

3. whose Internet boyfriend is a senior in high school.

4. who can't do any activities because of various questionable ailments.

5. who is totally annoying to everyone but Abby.

Can Abby be friends with a girl who all her other friends can't stand? Especially when Shasta has secrets that she isn't even telling Abby?

Fact #11: There is one swear word in Chiggers . One of the teen girls calls a friend "b***h". I would still give it to my kids when they hit middle school, but I'm pretty sure it would be kept out of their middle school library. The publisher has it listed for ages 10-14 and grade 5-9, and I would agree but for that one word. I know it may seem nit-picky to some, but teachers out there will know where I am coming from. We can get into a lot of trouble for handing books with swearing in them to elementary / middle school students. And that is a fact.

Fact #12: I really like this book. I like Larson's ability to show emotions clearly through her expressive, heavy lined art. I like how the main characters are flawed in a way that makes them seem real - there is no 'perfect' character. I like how the story is not as simple as first seemed.

I like this book.

Fact #13: Chiggers is supposed to be in stores June 17, 2008. Just in time for summer.

It is being released simultaneous in paperback and hardcover.

ISBN-10: 1-4169-3584-3
ISBN-13: 978-1-4169-3584-1



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