Archive | June, 2010

Gossip Girl

28 Jun

Em: I love this picture though it is completely awkward. Poor Serena doesn’t seem to be a part of the group here. This concerns me because when Serena is upset she gets all pouty and talks without moving her mouth. Then she fails to trust people and trouble ensues but people always forgive her because she’s so sweet. It must be really hard being Serena. Don’t you feel bad for her? At the start of the series, Serena was one of the few characters on the show that I liked (as a “person”). That changed within a season or two to her being one of my least favorite characters. I’m tired of her. I would give up on her if I were her friend. I would only be friends with Dorota, Nate, and Cyrus. We would go to the park and feed the squirrels and talk about how feeding birds is overrated and so are all our other friends. That would be nice.

Nora:  I agree that she has grown tiresome, but I think there is potential for a turnaround.  In the books, Serena is always happy and always gets what she wants.  It is so refreshing to have a character that has no issues and is all self-confidence and perfection.  Too bad the writers for the show can’t translate this.  I do think they are going to latch onto the whole Chuck-is-bisexual thing next season, so at least we have that to look forward to.  

As far as friends, I think Vanessa has the most potential.

Robot Dreams

25 Jun

As a media educator and artist, I’ve spent years teaching youth about the power of visual storytelling.  While taking a children’s literature course this past spring, I fell in love with wordless books. I “read” and treasured Pinkney’s Lion & the Mouse, Henterley’s Good Night, Garden Gnome, and of course all of Wiesner’s wordless books (Tuesday, Flotsam, etc).  So, I was thrilled to hear about Robot Dreams, a (basically) wordless graphic novel that tells the sometimes heartwarming and often heartbreaking story of two friends – a dog and a robot. It’s a story about the joy of making a new friend and the at times mentally complex process of letting go.

I’m a big graphic novel fan. I tend towards graphic novels with big action or super heroes (e.g. Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Animal Man, Y: The Last Man), though I also love those based on real stories (e.g. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Persepolis). Robot Dreams falls somewhere in between. It has fantastical characters and scenarios (true, robots and dogs are real, but they rarely visit the library together – at least not my library) but the story and emotions are easy to relate to. It almost feels too real for a book about a dog and a robot. I love Sara Varon’s style – it feels very simple, warm, charming. I can imagine using her work to show my students how even simple images can convey a lot of information and emotion (how adding a simple teardrop to a robot’s face can break your heart).

I’m being purposefully vague in my review. Part of what I loved about this story were the little surprises on each page. Varon’s choice of adventures for her characters (in dreams and in reality) are quite imaginative and make the emotional journey fun, safe, and inviting.

Em’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Author: Sara Varon
Publisher: First Second
Publication date: August 2007