Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jellaby & Jellaby: Monster in the City

Jellaby: Volume 1 Title: Jellaby
Author & Illustrator: Kean Soo
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Publication Date: February, 2008
Genre/Format: Fantasy/Graphic Novel
Summary: Portia is lonely. She doesn't fit in at her school and her mother is always working. Then one day, as she is wondering in the middle of the woods, she comes across a purple monster that tries to eat her flashlight. So, what does she do? Takes him home to feed him because he is obviously hungry. It is now up to Portia to take care of her new friend and to find out where he is supposed to be.

What I Think: How did I not know about Jellaby?!?!? 
When I went to check out the listopia list of Best Graphic Novels for Children, I assumed I would know them all, but then I came across Jellaby and I ran to my nearest library to get it- it did not disappoint. 

I am a big fan of the mostly single color comics (ala Babymouse, Lunch Lady, etc.) and Jellaby is one as well with primarily purple in its illustrations. Also, Kean Soo's style of illustrations are perfect for the story he is telling. They are very comicy, but realistic and filled with emotions. 

This little graphic novel has a lot of heart in it. Portia, Jason (her classmate) and Jellaby all feel abandoned and the story is not only about finding where Jellaby belongs, but also helping Portia and Jason feel like they belong as well. 

You will want the second one as soon as you are done, so make sure you have it available!

Jellaby: Monster in the City (Jellaby, #2)
Title: Jellaby: Monster in the City (Jellaby #2)
Author & Illustrator: Kean Soo
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Publication Date: April, 2009
Genre/Format: Fantasy/Graphic Novel
Summary: In the sequel to Jellaby, we continue Portia, Jason and Jellaby's journey. They will encounter many obstacles in their quest to find answers including bullies, inclement weather, fights and a monster. 
What I Think: Luckily, this sequel is a continuation of the first Jellaby because that one definitely left you hanging and the story does not disappoint. You see the characters growing so much through this journey even when they encounter obstacles that they shouldn't be able to overcome. I, personally, didn't like this one as much as the first one because I wish it had more answers, but I truly loved the ending. I am sad that there is no more Jellaby, but luckily the author has extras on his website!!  I will be buying both for my classroom (though after reading the author's blog, I found out that Jellaby is not in print any more! Oh no! :( So, if you want to purchase it, you'll have to look for it used or at special book stores that specializes in selling out of print books.)

Read Together: Grades 2 to 8
Read Alone: Grades 4 to 8
Read With: Bone by Jeff Smith, Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke, Sidekicks by Dan Santat
Snatch of Text: 
"I hope you like Tuna.  I remember mom making me a tuna sandwich for my first day of school.  It was terrible.  My first day of school, I mean, not the sandwich. We had just moved out here, and I didn't know anyone at all.  Everyone was so strange and they all had their own friends anyway.  I really didn't want to be there, so I snuck out at lunchtime and ate my sandwich out on the bleachers.  Now whenever I smell tuna, I always think about that first day." (Jellaby p. 28-29)

Since the snatch doesn't give you the full picture, below you will find the book trailer to give you an idea of the drawing style:

Mentor Text for: Theme, Paneling, Dialogue
Writing Prompts: Portia doesn't feel like she fits in at her new school- when was a time that you felt like you didn't belong?  How did you deal with the situation? 
Topics Covered: Friendship, Loneliness, Belonging, Bullies, Fitting in, 

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