June Reading

Purple Heart, Patricia McCormick (Y)
This is one of those teen books that transcends the genre, more like a really great novel. Not just a good author with an eye for character and setting, but a good researcher who brought other peoples’ experiences together. Four stars.

Brain Camp; Susan Kim, Laurence Klavan, Faith Erin Hicks, Hilary Sycamore (Y)
The artwork and color was really good, but the story was kinda stupid (a promising start with a camp to make kids smarter with something to hide, then took a turn into bad aliens vs plucky kids. Bah.). This was the first online advance readers copy that I’ve read. Stars for art only.

Dapper Caps and Pedal Copters, David Malki!
The third Wondermark collection. Writing reviews for webcomics collection is hard, because I have to think of how I would explain what is good about the comics as a whole. So here are a few half-formed ideas: beautifully composed art from Victorian illustrations re-purposed, modern style gags with a sophisticated tone, extra punchline (online it’s in hover-text, in the book it’s under each strip), several strips I had to share with housemates because they were so on the nose. Four stars.

I am a genius of unspeakable evil and I want to be your class president, Josh Lieb (Y)
It lives up to the excellent title (and cover art) by presenting a genius who is evil because he controls everyone around him with his massive hidden resources, and pays off for the reader (besides being really funny) by delving into why he wants to be evil and having a wonderful diabolical potential love interest and an unknowing nemesis (his dad). Only a few minor missteps that seemed editing related. Four stars.

(un)Fashion, Tibor + Maira Kalman
I was hoping for a book of everyday clothing from around the world, but was disappointed to find assorted worldwide photos of everyday and festival and oddball clothing with minimal context provided by notes at the end. It seemed like a poorly thought out Flickr pool. No stars.

Swords: an artist’s devotion, Ben Boos (Y)
This is the ideal book for kids fascinated by swords in history and books/movies/video games: chock full of gorgeous paintings of swords with really cool embellishments. There is some informative text, but the bulk of this book is awesome swords. Bring it to your D&D evening! Three stars.

Secret subway, Martin W. Sandler (Y)
So I got it because I thought the premise was that the first subway in NYC was built on the sly. Turns out only sort of: the guy got permission to built a subterranean pneumatic mail and package delivery system, but actually built a demonstration passenger line. It was all because the payola for a passenger line would have been too expensive (it cut into the horse drawn omnibus biz) and he hoped that the public’s love for the demonstration line would be enough to get the whole thing approved without payoffs. It was, but then there was a financial crash, eliminating the private investment he had figured on. Fun story, three stars.

Reviews elsewhere:
6/4, 6/11, 6/18, 6/25