Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Review: Babymouse

I'm not much of a graphic novel reader, but the new Babymouse series has won me over.

Written by Jennifer L. Holm and illustrated by her brother Matthew Holm, Babymouse is intended for 7-10 year-old readers. Random House Children's Books describes the series as "Mean Girls meets Hello Kitty" and, while it is true the Babymouse books are exclusively in black, white, and pink, Babymouse is really in the grand tradition of Ramona Quinby, Junie B. Jones, and other books with intelligent, sassy, but misunderstood heroines given to the occasional faux pas.

In the first Babymouse volume, Babymouse: Queen of the World!, Babymouse tries to secure an invitation to Felicia Furrypaw's slumber party. Felicia Furrypaw is, of course, Queen Bee--oops, make that cat--of the third grade. In the meantime, Babymouse's best friend, Wilson the Weasel plans for a scary movie marathon on the same night. What will Babymouse do? Will she miss movie night? How does she obtain an invitation to the slumber party? With nerve, great imagination, and, in the end, a clear conscience.

The second volume and my favorite of the two, Babymouse: Our Hero, takes on the true horror of grade school--dodge ball.

The strength of the Babymouse series is its heroine. She's funny, given to wild flights of imagination, and essentially a good "kid." These books appealed to both my five-year-old son (when read aloud) and my ten-year-old daughter (who read them in one sitting). Highly recommended for the grade school set.

**Check out Cynthia Leitich Smith's interview with Matthew Holm at Cynsations.