Compairing two graphic novels this time – not my usual first choice.

The first book was Tales From Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan

The first thing I noted was the number of awards this book has gotten – such as New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2007 and ALA’s 2008 Top Ten Graphic Novels for Teens – plus at least 6 others.  Okay, so now I’m expecting alot.  And guess what?  It delivered!

This book is written as a series of short, urban-fantasy stories submitted by different authors (although all are really written and illustrated by Shaun Tan).  The art work was great throughout the book – beginning with the dedication, which is drawn to look like a clasped mailing envelope – and ending with a watercolor of a old library index card with the names and dates of people who supposedly checked this book out.

We have stories about a water buffalo who lives in a vacant lot, a tiny alien who lives in a pantry, a man in a diving suit, a door in an attic that opens up into “another country” and instructions on how to make yourself a pet by watering a box of junk with herbal tea.  The illustrations show tv sets with sharp teeth chasing people, a car surrounded by giant, wind-up toy ducks, 100 dogs perched on cast off appliances – and (best of all) 10 pages of a poem made with scraps of paper about all the niffy places you can find poetry.

This book was clever and I really liked it.

If you know me, you know I’m already interested in the many ways that Alice In Wonderland  can be retold.  This graphic novel doesn’t center around Alice though, it centers around the rabbit’s maid ” Mary Ann”, who looks a bit like Alice except for the dark hair and who appears to be more intelligent than poor Alice.  (Which is usually the case – in that the employee is almost always smarter than the employer…true that!)

The tale begins with Wonderland’s inhabitants trying to recover from all the havoc that Alice’s little adventure left behind. Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum plant the crazy idea in the Queen of Heart’s head that the White Rabbit was the one who let  Alice in, and he is charged with treason!  His maid Mary Ann tries to save him and they go into hiding together, but not before running into the Jabberwock in the woods and causing all kinds of chaos to follow.

I really enjoyed this book and the pictures were colorful and just CUTE .

It may never happen again, but for this Teen Book Battle  – I’m calling it a tie! Pick either one (or both) and you won’t go wrong.


Born to read, forced to work.

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