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Lights, Camera, Middle School!: 12/24/17

Lights, Camera, Middle School! by Jennifer L. Holm

Lights, Camera, Middle School! by Jennifer L. Holm is a prose and graphic novel hybrid for middle graders who grew up reading the comic books. Babymouse is in middle school and she needs to join a club. Given her overactive imagination it's no surprise that she ends up in the movie club. What is surprising is that she's given the role of writer and director — and she succeeds at it.

There's a maturity to Babymouse that isn't always present in the comic books. Many of the comics are based around situational humor with Babymouse being the fall guy for most of what goes wrong. She's styled as a hot pink mouse version of Buster Keaton. Where he had his iconic half frown, she has her droopy whiskers. Unfortunately she often lacks the industriousness that Keaton's characters always had — no matter how down on their luck they seemed.

With a bit more maturity and insight, Babymouse has come to realize that much of her misfortune comes from her own self sabotage. With a little more focus and self confidence she's able to bring the movie club's project to fruition. She even manages to work with Felicia (the oft-times antagonist / bully of the comic books).

Thematically Lights, Camera, Middle School! reminds me of a Fall 2017 anime, Anime-Gataris especially near the middle of the series where the club sets out to make their own anime short and come into trouble with other clubs, budgets, and rules.

Four stars

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