Friday, December 21, 2012

Crogan’s Vengeance

Hooray for pirates! Today I’m reviewing “Crogan’s Vengeance” by Chris Schweizer. It’s about a sailor named Catfoot Crogan.

 The book starts with Catfoot tied to a post, being flogged because the captain's a real jerk. Catfoot’s taken inside and patched up. The man who flogged him, Mr. Toomy, becomes really important later on.  In a week, Catfoot is called down from the crow's nest. The captain tells him to have a sick man named Codfish relieve him. Catfoot tries to change the captain’s mind, but the captain tells  him off. Soon after Codfish is sent up, all the men hear a thud. Codfish has fallen from the shrouds. They have a small funeral and get back to work. But one sailor refuses to work because they had been put on half rations. The captain runs inside. Just when the crew thinks they have won back full rations, the captain rushes back out with two pistols and shoots the man who refused to work. Then he accuses Catfoot of treason. As Catfoot is about to be hung, pirates attack. This is just the beginning.
The art in Crogan’s Vengeance looks like it was painted with ink and a brush. It looks very smooth and fluent.

There are two other Crogan books. Crogan’s March, which is about a legionnaire in Arabia, and Crogan’s Loyalty, which is about a British soldier and an American soldier.

Check out these books, they’re beast-tacular!  

Friday, December 14, 2012


Cardboard” by Doug TenNapel is one of the most original ideas ever. It’s about a boy named Cam and his father. Cam’s mother died when he was little.

On Cam’s birthday, he is given a cardboard box. That’s all his dad could afford  since he had just lost his job.  They made a boxer out of the cardboard. Late at night it comes alive. They name him Bill. A neighbor named Marcus who is jealous of Cam squirts Bill in the legs, which makes them melt. Cam and his dad make a magical cardboard maker out of the scraps to make new legs. Cam starts making tons of little cardboard creatures. Later, Marcus steals the maker. He makes an army of cardboard monsters that rebel and take over the neighborhood. That’s really all you need to know.

The artwork is the same as all Doug TenNapel’s other books. It has a straight line-y look to it. It also has lots of shading and color that give the impression of each strange environment. Each character has a distinguishing look. Some characters have big heads, long necks or bulky noses.

Doug TenNapel has also written other awesome books like Ghostopelis, Bad Island and Gear. His work is in every library I’ve ever visited.

I strongly suggest this book. It is funny, eerie and unique. You will enjoy it even if you don't find interest in making things out of cardboard. Find it, and buy it, unless you find it at the library. Just  check it out. :)

P.S. : Doug TenNapel is also the creator of Earthworm Jim, a very famous video game.


Thursday, December 6, 2012


I recently found a really cool book called XOC by Matt Dembicki. It’s about a female great white shark traveling across the ocean to have her children. Don’t get me wrong, I hate sharks! They’re so freaky, but the book is really well written.

 The story starts with a large mass of sharks attacking a herd of seals. XOC is one of those sharks. After the hunting, she leaves to go across the Atlantic The first thing she sees is two people in a shark cage. She bites the cage to get a better idea of what it is. She fails to break the cage and leaves. Much later she is swimming along when an unwanted visitor comes to see her. Two orcas body slam XOC. She tries to attack but is disoriented and is slammed again. She desperately swims to the surface and thrashes around in the waves until the orcas leave. Soon after the painful experience, XOC befriends a sea turtle. It has one flipper. It said a surface dweller clipped it. On their travels, they come across two age old enemies locked in combat. A sperm whale and a giant squid are fighting. The giant squid tries to cover the whale’s blowhole to drown it, but before the squid can reach it, the behemoth whale crushes the invertebrate in its jaws. XOK leaves so as not to attract notice. The shark and turtle continue moving and seeing things until the end of the book. I just gave you a taste.

One thing I really like about XOC is that XOC never becomes a cute Disney animal. She stays as a horrific creature of the sea the whole time. If she was nice, the book wouldn’t make any sense. What makes this book cool is that it's from the perspective of a monster.

Now, the artwork in this book is amazing. If you ever wanted to see realistic looking but also talking animals outside of a movie, check out XOC. It’s awesome!!!! I think that the reason Matt Dembicki chose to make these creatures talk was to make all the animals characters instead of mute pictures.

Just one more thing, XOC is quite new. So it wont be very hard to find.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Big Bad Ironclad

For once in going to review a non-fiction book. It’s a book called “Big Bad Ironclad” by Nathan Hale.

 This book features the historical spy, Nathan Hale, telling the story of the ironclads to his executioners. As most of you know, Nathan Hale was not alive during the Civil War. But in the story, he somehow read a history book that told him the future.

The main characters of the story within the story are the historical characters, William Cushing and Gideon Wells. The villain of the story within the story is Stephen Russell Mallory, the Secretary of the Confederate Navy. When the Confederates steal the U.S.S. Merrimack, Mallory has the top plated with iron. It is also renamed the C.S.S. Virginia. While it is in the works, the Union navy board has been searching for an inventor to build them an iron ship. When John Ericson auditions they are very hesitant because John Ericson built a cannon for the navy that blew up. It killed 8 people including the Secretary of the Navy. Abe Lincoln finally convinces the navy board to sign a contract with John Ericson. When the Monitor is finished, it fights the Merrimac. If I tell you more it won't be interesting.

One scene I like is when the Union army is attacking the Confederate shipyard and the Confederates have to blow up the wounded Merrimack so the Union won’t get it. I liked this scene because it shows how powerful a healthy ironclad can be.

            The artwork in Big Bad Ironclad is unbelievably cartoony. It is not my favorite, but it is not my least favorite ether. It feels smooth instead of rough like Usagi Yojimbo. Overall, its not bad at all.

           Additionally, I really enjoy all the childish humor, such as how much of a kid the hangman is. 

The book is good for history lovers and comic lovers, of which I am both. So go check it out. It’s very entertaining.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Neko Ramen

Kenji Sonishi's Neko Ramen is definitely one of the best book series I read. I enjoy it on a daily basis. It’s about a cat named Taisho who owns a ramen shop. He has one frequent customer named Tanaka. Taisho is constantly creating different sorts of unusual ramen and having Tanaka test them. On top of that, Taisho hires more part timers than he can count, and most of them don’t do much. There’s Mi Chan who sleeps all day. There’s Shige who steals from the cash register. There’s an elder named Toku who is paid with glasses of milk. There’s the second location guy who runs the second location. There’s Maru who’s a chicken. Finally, there’s a bunch of prairie dogs.

Taisho’s father is the complete opposite of Taisho. While Taisho is a middle class ramen shop owner, his father is a rich and famous cat model who makes $1,000 a day. Taisho ran away from home when he was a kitten and tried many occupations until he settled down with ramen.

A scene I liked was when there was a sign for a new ramen dish called “All Fried Chicken Ramen". Tanaka thought Taisho had fried Maru, but it turned out that Maru cooked the ramen.

The artwork in Neko Ramen is very simple. It appears to be drawn with a pen alone. It has a large charm to it. If you like complex art, this is not for you.