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Month in review

Reviews
Ballad by Blexbolex
BirdCatDog by Lee Nordling
Bird & Squirrel on Ice by James Burks
Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem by Steve Niles
Bulldog's Big Day by Kate McMullan
Calvin Coconut: Rocket Ride by Graham Salisbury
The Children's Book on How to Use Books and Libraries by Carolyn Mott
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Race Against Time by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Chomp by Carl Hiaasen
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Dragon Girl: The Secret Valley by Jeff Weigel
Elephants Cannot Dance! by Mo Willems
The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel, Volume 1 by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell
Half Magic by Edward Eager
Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa
In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang
Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors
Miss Lina's Ballerinas by Grace Maccarone
Monsters: An Owner's Guide by Jonathan Emmett
Ollie and Claire by Tiffany Strelitz Haber
Outside In by Sarah Ellis
The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale
Purple Springs by Nellie L. McClung
Rich Cat, Poor Cat by Bernard Waber
The Rising by Kelley Armstrong
Seven Wild Sisters: A Modern Fairy Tale by Charles de Lint
Small Steps by Louis Sachar
The Thingamabob by Il Sung Na
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers
Wild Ocean by Matt Dembicki

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for Ballad

Ballad: 12/12/14

cover art

Ballad by Blexbolex is one of those books that's hard to pin down. For the purpose of the CYBILs, it is a graphic novel but that's merely a way of saying it's mostly illustrations and it's longer than a picture book.

But it's really more an art piece, an experiment in narrative structure, if you will. At it's most basic level, it's about a journey from home, to school and back again. But this story is told multiple times. Each time it's retold it becomes more complicated and more magical.

Looking beyond the initial story, it's also the tale of The Bandits. They look a bit like the Fox and Cat from Pinocchio and they appear throughout the book doing nefarious things. No matter what it is they are doing, they are listed simply as "The Bandits"

Along with the ever changing story is the ever changing text. The text being just a pair of words per page (usually an article and a noun), rendered in an a looping script, takes on the form of the story. When magic mysteriously turns the town upside down, the text too is inverted. When things are tossed about willy nilly, so are the letters. When things vanish, so does the text.

For an adult, Ballad is a fairly easy read — though one should take time to ponder how the story is told. For younger readers, the script might be difficult. For my daughter who is just now learning how to write and read cursive, Ballad's plot seemed secondary to the the emphasis it puts on testing readers on their ability to read cursive.

Four stars

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