Monday, August 29, 2016

Middle Graphic Novel Review: Ghosts + Dog Man

About The Book:

  Title: Ghosts 
  Author: Raina Telgemeier 
  Pub. Date: September 13th, 2016 
  Publisher: Scholastic 
  Pages: 256 
  Genre: Graphic Novels, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Comics 
  Rate: 4/5 stars

Synopsis :

Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn't happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister's sake - and her own.


This actually was my first time reading a graphic novel that was not about superheroes. I've heard of Raina Telgemeier before from her other Eisner Award-winning graphic novels but I haven't read them. This novel was a real treat. It was a paranormal book about friendship, family, and personal troubles. I really enjoyed it!

Even though this book was called Ghosts, I didn't actually think it was going to be paranormal. It's just the fact that I don't see many middle grade paranormals instilled with serious subjects! I thought it was going to be a figment of the MCs imagination or a ploy or something - but nope, real ghosts! It was fantastic how Ms. Telgemeier entwined cystic fibrosis with the impact it has on not only on Maya but on Cat and the rest of her family - and what it's like growing up with a disease like that affecting your family. The illustrations were beautiful and Bahía de la Luna is mystical town everybody will wish they could live in. 

This definitely broadened my reading horizons and I've already been researching some other graphic novels that I think I might be interested in. I think Ghosts will appeal to fans of multiple genres and not just middle grade - it really was a cute book! This is definitely a story you will read in one sitting.

About The Book:

  Title: Dog Man: From the Creator of Captain Underpants (Dog Man #1)
  Author: Dav Pilkey 
  Pub. Date: August 30th, 2016 
  Publisher: Scholastic 
  Pages: 240 
  Genre: Graphic Novels, Middle Grade, Comics
  Rate: 2/5 stars

Synopsis :

New from the creator of Captain Underpants, it's Dog Man, the crime-biting canine who is part dog, part man, and ALL HERO!

George and Harold have created a new hero who digs into deception, claws after crooks, and rolls over robbers. When Greg the police dog and his cop companion are injured on the job, a life-saving surgery changes the course of history, and Dog Man is born. With the head of a dog and the body of a human, this heroic hound has a real nose for justice. But can he resist the call of the wild to answer the call of duty?


Dog Man is the story of a cop and a police dog who become surgically conjoined together after an injury. The dog head and the human body supposedly will make him the "best" crime fighter! With 4 chapters (Chapter 3 is my favorite) of narrowly avoiding catastrophic disasters, Dog Man manages to somehow save the day while never really speaking.

I'll give it to Dog Man - there were some witty lines. However, it wasn't enough to make me like this book. Dog Man never speaks, which I think is going to hinder this series future success. This book managed to just get away with it but it started to get annoying at the end. Why did the evil cat in this book talk but not the dog? Why does Dog Man understand language but choose not to talk? So Mr. Pilkey mentioned wanting to appeal to the dyslexic audience and I'm guessing he is unintentionally appealing to the selective mutism audience as well. I'm not saying it's a bad thing to appeal to multiple audiences, but it's not consistent to have some animals talk and not others.

I don't think I would recommend Dog Man to fans of YA, which isn't a problem because it's not marketed to YA. However, I'm not even sure middle grade readers would like it. While there were parts that did make me giggle, I'm not sure intentional misspelling at the 2nd grade reading level is the best idea. My cousin who frequently reads middle grade read it and told me he thought it was "dumb". I never read Captain Underpants, so maybe it could be great for fans of that series of his but unfortunately this just wasn't a huge hit with me.

- Jocelyn

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