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Robots and Mice: Two Reviews in One February 26, 2006

February has been a pretty good month for all ages comics. Two of the best come from the opposite ends of the spectrum. One is a serious book about rodents and the other is a silly book about a little boy and his robot nanny. I have been looking forward to both of these books, and I was not disappointed.

Marvel's Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius is one of the books that inspired this site. Early in the school year I taught a lesson using two pages of this book, and the artist, Chris Eliopoulos was nice enough to respond with a letter and a nice picture for the kids. Now this attention did not buy a good review. Fortunately for the creative team of artist/writer Eliopoulos and writer Marc Sumerak graft was not necessary. Any book that has a boy and his robot jetting through time collecting Christmas presents for his family (Excalibur for Uncle Johnny, an original Degas for Aunt Alicia) has to be worth the price of admission. Marvel, Eliopoulos, and Sumerak have another winner on their hands. This is a refreshing book that has enough heart and charm for the older readers and plenty of goofy stuff for the younger readers.

And now for something completely different.

I did say something about a book about rodents, but this is not a silly book at all. It is, in fact, a book that takes itself very seriously. But in a good way. Mouse Guard, from Archaia Studios Press, is the first comic work of any kind by David Petersen, but I hope not the last. This oddly shaped book (8x8, roughly the shape of the early Robert Munsch books) is an absolutely stunning work of fiction. This should be taken seriously by any children's literature lover. It has everything: cute animals, action, swords, honor, respect, snakes and mystery. My only complaint is that it will not likely be in bookstores next to “regular” children's literature until all six issues are finished in a year from now and collected into one volume (each issue will come out every two months). I would recommend this to anyone (anyone, not just kids) that enjoys Lord of the Rings type fantasy fiction. I would recommend going through it with any younger children before they are allowed to read it on their own. There is a scene where the heroes of the story destroy a nest of snake eggs that may need some explaining. I quoted Petersen in an earlier story:

In this 1st issue there are only 2 pages with any bloodshed and it is very tame and very clearly villains being vanquished. The only objectionable thing I can see in the next issue may be showing a mouse with a jug of rum.

I tried very hard to make it a book that any age can read. Even if the words are above that child's reading level, I feel they can read with an adult or older reader who could help them with words, the themes are not above them.

At conventions many parents ask me if the book is appropriate for their child, I open it to the 2 pages with blood and they buy the book.

Click HERE for a preview of issue two.

Really, you need this book in your home.

Both of them were worth my money.

 

The recommended web-resources included on this site have been scrutinized for their grade and age appropriateness; however, contents on links on the Internet change continuously. It is advisable that teachers and parents preview all links before recommending them to children.
 

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