Thursday, April 7, 2011

The TTLG 2011 Picture Book Celebration: Book Ninety-Seven

I grew up reading the Tintin books, The Adventures of Asterix the Gaul, and the Lucky Luke books, and I have never lost my affection for comics and graphic novels. For this reason, I am delighted to see how many splendid graphic novels are making their way into the world of children's literature. Today's book is a wonderful title that is presented by Peter H. Reynolds (of Ish fame) and his company Fablevision. 

Sharon Emerson
Illustrated by Renee Kurilla
Graphic Novel
For ages
9 to 12
Simon and Schuster, 2010, 978-1-4169-9525-8
   Vita has a used guitar and the name for a band, Zebrafish, but if she is going to be a part of a real band, she is going to need more people. Eager to make her dream a reality, Vita holds auditions and Tanya, Walt, Jay, and Plinko turn up. The problem is that none of them really know how to play a musical instrument. Then Jay suggests that they create a virtual band and make a video. Walt can create the art, Plinko and Jay can animate it, Tanya can write the words to the songs, and Vita can play the songs to accompany the video.
   Somehow, as the months pass, the five teenagers make progress on their video and they also find out things about each other. Vita finds out that Tanya is battling leukemia, and she also learns that her own big brother, who is studying ways to fight cancer, needs an expensive machine to make faster progress with his experiments. Since Vita’s mother died of cancer, she feels a special connection to Tanya, and she decides that they should use the band and their songs to do something meaningful, something that will help young people like Tanya.
   In this unique graphic novel, the author and illustrator have created a story that explores the way in which one girl’s dream builds and evolves, and the way in which she and her friends end up doing something that is bigger than all of them. The story shows that anyone can do something to make the world a better place.
   With wonderfully colorful and expressive illustrations and a great story, this is a book that graphic novel fans will want to add to their collections.
   Readers who enjoy this book should visit the Zebrafish website where they can watch movies of the story, listen to Vita’s song, play a game, and more.

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