Thursday, March 21, 2013

Kill Shakespeare

         “Kill Shakespeare” by Andy Belanger, Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery is a very cool two book saga. It takes place in a parallel universe where Shakespeare lives in a magical world with all his creations. The main character in the story is Hamlet. It is foretold by the witches from Macbeth that Hamlet will become the shadow king and overthrow the evil King Richard. He wants Shakespeare’s magic quill that makes what you write come true.

          WARNING. The next paragraph contains massive spoilers. If you don't want to have the book
spoiled for you, skip over the next paragraph. Things turn out differently than in the original Shakespeare plays.

         Richard tries to trick Hamlet into killing Shakespeare himself, but then Falstaff finds Hamlet and tells him of Richard's treachery. They meet up with General Othello, Iago & General Juliet. At the same time, Richard joins forces with the even more treacherous Lady Macbeth and murders her husband, Macbeth. After a while, Iago betrays the heroes and is cast away. At the end, Hamlet convinces Shakespeare to fight with them. The heroes win, Othello gets his revenge against Iago, and Romeo & Juliet are reunited.

            The art in Kill Shakespeare has lots of straight lines instead of curvy ones. I really like how the illustrators drew King Richard. They really went into depth with his hump and deformed hand. The hand is my favorite. It’s horribly ragged and skinny. The way he holds it shows how he has no control over it. I also like how you only see Macbeth’s face once. All the other times there’s a shadow cast over it.

            Kill Shakespeare is very bloody. There is lots of fighting between characters. If you are a parent, I would suggest that you proofread this book to make sure that it’s okay for your child. Apart from that, it’s really fun to read. Every time I read it, I see something that I missed before. You do need to be familiar with a few Shakespeare plays to enjoy this book. I would give Kill Shakespeare 41/2 out of 5 magic quills. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Friends With Boys

Friends With Boys” by Faith Erin Hicks is very entertaining. It has a very different feel than all the other books I've read. It has two storylines which I like. One is high school drama, and one is ghost hunting.

It's about a home schooled girl named Maggie whose mom has recently left the family and whose dad's the chief of police in their town.  Since she has no mom to teach her, she has to go to high school. She doesn’t know anyone except for her three brothers, Lloyd, Zander and Dan. On her first day she becomes acquaintances with a punk girl named Lucy and her brother Alastair. They seem like the nicest people in school, and they are. 

She follows them to the graveyard one day. To Maggie, the graveyard is just another place that she lives by, but to Lucy, graveyards are a way to "get in touch with history." Alastair notices her and asks her if she would like to join them. While they talk, the subject of her mom is unknowingly brought up by Lucy. Maggie has to go. Lucy later wonders if she offended her in some way. The next day at school, Alastair apologizes to her for Lucy. He asks her if she would like to hang out with them. She agrees and Lucy is beside herself with joy. What a lovable character.

Maggie and Lucy have perfect chemistry. Maggie is haunted by a nineteenth century widow, and Lucy is obsessed with ghosts. When Halloween comes around they go to the cinema to watch a screening of Alien. Lucy screams from the chestburster to the killing of the alien. After the movie ends, Lucy claims that the movie wasn't that scary. One of the cool things about Lucy is that she loves spooky ghosts, but is terrified of scary movies like Alien.

Maggie becomes best pals with Alastair and Lucy. When Maggie's brothers find out of Maggie's friendship, they don't approve. A year ago, Alistair was best friends with the biggest jerk in school, Matt. Alastair was also very mean to Dan while he was friends with Matt, and Dan still hasn't forgiven forgiven Alastair.

The town has a very nice ghost museum. When Maggie, Lucy and Alastair visit the museum they see a hand belonging to a sea captain whose  wife killed herself when he died. Maggie remembers her ghost. The story turns in a different direction which I won't spoil.  

Faith Erin Hicks also illustrated a book I read called Brain Camp. I knew this just by looking at the drawing style. She gives a lot of detail to the nose of each character. Each character has a differently shaped nose. The eyes in Friends With Boys are very big, especially Lucy's. Lucy is definitely my favorite character. She really just has an innocent, likable personality. Also she looks just like my friend, Luna.

I am home schooled just like Maggie used to be, but my experience is completely different than hers. One, my sister is not home schooled, two, I live in New York City and she lives in a small town, and three, I have a bunch of classes I can go to, she didn't. The biggest difference that I can see is that I have lots of home schooled friends, and Maggie doesn't.

This book is appropriate for all ages above 11 as long as they can handle mild cursing, but there is still very little of that. I would have to give Friends With Boys 5 ghost ladies out of 5. 

Monday, March 4, 2013


Resistance by Carla Jablonski & Leland Purvis is a very realistic story about the French Resistance against Germany in WWII. It’s about a boy named Paul and his little sister, Marie. Paul’s best friend, Henri, is Jewish.

 When the Nazis invade Paris, Henri’s parents escape to a cellar in the catacombs of Paris. Paul & Marie hide Henri in their basement. One night, Paul sees his older sister, Sylvie's boyfriend, Jacques at a Nazi gate. He assumes he’s helping them. When Paul sees the wire cutters he realizes that Jacques is part of the Resistance. Paul wants to join. Jacques unsuccessfully tries to talk him out of it. The next day, Paul & Marie are hanging out and drawing by a fountain with some other kids. One anti-Semitic girl is talking badly about Jews. She says that Henri has already been taken. We see what Paul is drawing, a picture of the anti-Semitic girl in Nazi dress with bombs falling on her head. That night, Jacques walks with Paul and tells him that Marie is also joining the Resistance. The next day Paul and Marie are given jobs. Marie is to make messages by putting pinpricks over letters to make words. Paul is to draw the vehicles parked outside their hotel. Right before they leave for Paris to find Henri's parents, Sylvie, who is to help them get there, dyes Henri’s hair blond to make them all look related. The trip is long and I don’t want to spoil the ending, so go read the book. 

The art in Resistance is very nice. The backgrounds are very shady and dark.  The atmosphere fits the situation perfectly. The facial expressions are very expressive. There is one scene when some strongly devoted Nazis are searching a train and their faces are filled with hate and rage against the French people.

One thing I like about Resistance is how they distinguish German soldiers from Nazis. Normal soldiers are human and Nazis are like demons. Resistance is very sad, but it is also very touching. I would give Resistance 5 stars out of 5.

I just learned that there are two sequels to Resistance.