Thursday, July 31, 2008

Amelia Rules! When the Past is a Present

Gownley, Jimmy. 2008. Amelia Rules! When the past is a present. Harrisburg, PA: Renaissance Press.

The review on the back cover reads, "Not only is it one of the finest comics of all time, it is one of the best examples of children's literature I have ever read." (Jim Rutkowski)

I'm not sure I'm willing to go that far, but I will say that I did enjoy this graphic novel in the Amelia Rules! series. I admit that I'm not a big fan on fiction graphic novels, but this one is funny and socially relevant. I have not read the other titles in the series, but I was able to pick up the story line easily as middle-schooler, Amelia, struggles with her parents divorce and her relocation. With the help of good friends and a loving family, Amelia not only manages, she rules!

The illustrations are varied in style. In keeping with the book's theme, "The past is a present," there are lifelike depictions of old newspapers, comic strips, and postcards. There is a scene regarding a war deployment that is starkly illustrated with white background. There are realistic and artful pages of outdoor scenes (Gownley has a particular talent for artfully illustrating sunlight), along with the more comedic scenes of everyday interactions between Amelia and her friends.

The best laugh in the book is the "Thank goodness you're open!" game. I loved it!

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