Dear Book Lovers, Welcome! I am delighted that you have found The Through the Looking Glass blog. For over twenty years I reviewed children's literature titles for my online journal, which came out six times a year. Every book review written for that publication can be found on the Through the Looking Glass website (the link is below). I am now moving in a different direction, though the columns that I write are still book-centric. Instead of writing reviews, I'm offering you columns on topics that have been inspired by wonderful books that I have read. I tell you about the books in question, and describe how they have have impacted me. This may sound peculiar to some of you, but the books that I tend to choose are ones that resonate with me on some level. Therefore, when I read the last page and close the covers, I am not quite the same person that I was when first I started reading the book. The shift in my perspective might be miniscule, but it is still there. The books I am looking are both about adult and children's titles. Some of the children's titles will appeal to adults, while others will not. Some of the adult titles will appeal to younger readers, particularly those who are eager to expand their horizons.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The TTLG 2011 Picture Book Celebration - Book Fourteen

When I was a child many of us, children and adults alike, eagerly waited for the next James Bond film to come out. A big group of us would go down to the local cinema theater to cheer on James Bond as he tackled and defeated bad guys. Later, as an adult, I read many of Ian Fleming's James Bond books. Now there is a series of books for young readers that are about the young James Bond. Today I have a review of the graphic novel version of the first Young Bond book. I know some of you will think that a graphic novel does not qualify as a picture book, but I thought I would bend the strict definition a little so that I could include some 'picture books' for older readers. 

Charlie Higson
Illustrated by Kev Walker
Graphic Novel
Ages 10 and up
Hyperion, 2008, 978-142313022-2
   James Bond is not sure about being at Eton. It is a different world there and the rules and customs are rather irksome. Then there is the fact that one boy, an American by the name of George Hellebore, seems to be determined to make James’s life at school as miserable as possible. Every time they meet the two boys clash, and when James beats George in a cross-country race, the situation is only made worse.
   When he heads off for Scotland to spend the Easter holidays with his aunt Charmian and his ailing uncle Max, James hopes that he won’t have to think about George and their rivalry for a while. Unfortunately, he soon finds out that George’s father, Lord Hellebore, owns a castle not far from where James is going to be staying, and George is there. James can only hope that they will not have to meet at all.
   Soon after he arrives in Scotland, James joins Kelly, a London boy, in the search for a missing Scottish boy called Alfie. Their investigations lead them to the castle of Lord Hellebore next to Lake Silverfin. James has already encountered Lord Hellebore at Eton and he does not like the man. When James breaks into the castle one night he finds that his instincts about the Lord were on the mark. The man is definitely dangerous, and possibly quite mad as well. Lord Hellebore has a truly evil plan in the works, and James knows that he has to do everything he can to stop the plan from proceeding.
   Based on Charlie Higson’s first novel about the young James Bond, the story in this graphic novel is exciting and full of surprises. Readers will be intrigued to find out that James’ father and his uncle were both spies. Though his uncle warns James not to become a spy, it would appear that the boy has a knack for getting to the bottom of interesting puzzles. 


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this review. What a great way to illustrate how graphic novels create a bridge for readers. I can't wait to find this series.

Marya Jansen-Gruber said...

I hope there will be more Young Bond graphic novels. They are so well done.

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