Daily Archives: April 29, 2012

The Haunted Dollhouse

by Stefan Petrucha
Overall: 3 out of 5 stars

Personal Evaluation: Having just read my first Nancy Drew a few months ago, it was still fresh in my mind for making comparisons. As always, some things were clearer in graphic novel format and some were less clear. At times with graphic novels, a picture really is worth a thousand words – or a series of pictures can tell what paragraphs of narration can do. At the same time, I would find this contrast as upsetting as watching the movie of a book – I read with a movie screen in my head, so I see scenes play out as I read them. Often movies don’t live up to my imagination, but I have learned to accept them as distinct stories separate from the book. I imagine I would have to do the same for graphic novel adaptations of books I’ve loved.

What might interest children: This Nancy Drew graphic novel was an anomaly in the series in that it was celebrating the 75th anniversary of Nancy Drew and so it was Nostalgia Week in River Heights. However, normally Nancy and co. are modern girls with cell phones and computers, which I think will appeal to kids (girls or boys – a school librarian friend’s students did a debate of Nancy Drew vs. the Hardy Boys and there was no clear gender line on the teams – and the whole thing was entirely the kids’ idea). In this book, Nancy and her friends were constantly using slang from the 1930s and defining it, which I’m not sure a kid today would be interested in.

Sinister Spiders of Saginaw

by Johnathan Rand
Overall: 3 out of 5

Personal Evaluation: Ew, spiders. Really – I never read Goosebumps or anything even remotely creepy and hate scary movies and books (Harry Potter was pushing it). So I skimmed this one as best I could and tried not to read it at night! Other than a few typos, though, it wasn’t too bad.

What might interest children: Definitely the gross factor, and the cliffhangers at the end of each chapter. Short chapters and lots of action would hook even very reluctant readers, and the language seemed fairly easy, again for readers who might not be as strong. I was surprised to reach the end of the book with lots of pages to go – I had forgotten about the teaser to the next book, which might also be something that would interest children. Also, based on my experience of this book being unknown in the Boston area, I think it’s definitely a niche for Michigan kids, who will want books of their hometown or where they’ve gone on vacation. I can’t speak for the American Chillers series, but it definitely has not caught on over here.