Today I have a graphic novel for you that is funny, often silly, and yet that also looks at problems and issues that are very real for many children. Using humor and colorful characters, Jimmy Gownley gives his readers an entertaining AND thoughtful book to read.
For ages 9 to 12
Simon and Schuster, 2006, 978-1-4169-8604-1
Two months ago, Amelia’s mother and father split up. Amelia and her mother now live with Aunt Tanner, and Amelia still hasn’t unpacked her stuff. She has a new friend called Reggie and a new enemy called Rhoda who likes (yes in that way) Reggie, and who therefore considers Amelia to be a threat.
Amelia is inclined to think that everyone in her life is crazy. She is the only sane person around. Reggie is obsessed with superheroes and he likes everyone to dress up as a superheroes. One day Amelia, Reggie, Rhoda, and Reggie’s friend Pajamaman meet in the G.A.S.P (Gathering of Awesome Super Pals) headquarters and Reggie proposes that they should do something about two bullies who have been terrorizing the neighborhood for years. For some reason he is convinced that his cape will protect him when he confronts the two. Actually, his cape is no help at all, but his allergies are!
On the first day of school, Amelia walks to school with Reggie, Rhoda (who still hates her) and Pajamaman. She soon identifies the cliques in the school, and all of them are familiar. The only one that she does see are the “nerds.” Where are they she asks. Which is when she finds out that Reggie, Rhoda, and Pajamaman are the nerds in the school. Amelia is a nerd “by association.” Fantastic. In no time at all Amelia ends up in the principal’s office for being “disruptive.” Surely her first day in school cannot possible get worse. Ah, but it can because there is gym class ahead.
There is no doubt that young readers who enjoy graphic novels are going to love this book. Though Amelia’s adventures are outrageously funny, there is a thread of true-to-life-experiences running through the book that young readers will quickly pick up on. Amelia is having a hard time adjusting to her new life, and she feel helpless because she has so little control over what happens to her. This is surely a feeling everyone can identify with.
This is a first in a series of graphic novels about Amelia and her friends.