Adventures Are Everywhere
By Anna Walker
Best for: Ages 4-8
When a little girl named Mae moves form the country to the city, she misses the trees, plants, flowers and butterflies she used to have all around. Now she just sees big buildings and concrete. In her search for greenways, Mae creates a forest of art on the boxes stacked throughout her new apartment. She even draws butterflies and flowers on the pavement between buildings, but it all gets washed away. Then one day she discovers a forest behind a large plate glass window at a store called Florette and gets an inspiration. She discovers a small green vine growing outside and takes it home to plant in her garden.
Several messages are hiding in this tale. One is that it takes time to get used to a new place. Another is that nature always overcomes. Third is that charming illustrations can capture and delight a reader, as they do in Florette.
What’s good: Wonderfully sketched and charming watercolor illustrations.
What’s bad: The ending is a little rushed.
Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond
By Sam Hearn
Best for: Ages 7-10
How may times can Sherlock Holmes be retold? This version is perfect for young mystery buffs and graphic novel enthusiasts. In the first installment of this new series, John Watson arrives at his new boarding school, Baker Street Academy, where he quickly meets Sherlock Holmes. When the students of Baker Street Academy venture to a museum, they also come across a jewel heist—which Sherlock decides to solve. This tale is fun and accessible, giving Sherlock Holmes new life for young readers.
The graphic novel, mixed media style is very hot right now and makes this a good pick for long drives this spring during family vacations.
What’s good: Fast-paced action with fun dialog.
What’s bad: Retellings of Sherlock Holmes are nothing new.
Clem Hetherington and the Ironwood Race
By Jen Breach
Illustrated by Douglas Holgate
Best for: Ages 10-14
What happens when you combine Young Indiana Jones with Speed Racer and the Star Wars universe? You get a young female archeologist with an android brother in a deadly race across the desert surrounded by space aliens. The adventure is fast-paced and entertaining, and the illustrations and narrative keep readers glued to each frame. This is a good addition to the growing graphic novel library for teens and preteens.
What’s good: Sure to interest even reluctant readers.
What’s bad: Not enough explanation of why aliens are on what appears to be Earth.