Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sweet Tooth, Anyone?

The Princess Candy Series
by Michael Dahl

Tales of a Sugar Hero Blurb:

On her eleventh birthday, Halo Nightly receives a mysterious collection of candy jars from her Aunt Pandora. The sweet treats inside fuel her with the powers of fire, water, earth, and air! As the worlds newest sugar hero, Halo must defeat the evil sour-villains who threaten to rid the world of fun and flavor!

The Green Queen of Mean Blurb:

Look out litterbugs! When friend-to-the-planet Flora is paired with classmate Halo, things look good for her science report on pollution. Unfortunately, when Halo eats a little of her superhero candy and flies out for a breath of air after finishing the project, Doozie Hiss steps in to sabotage their work. Little does she know that Flora has a secret identity and the power to avenge any nongreen attitudes.

The Marshmallow Mermaid:

After an elementary school has closed for the day, a dangerous monster comes out of the school's swimming pool looking for food. He eats marshmallows and goes back in the water. Complaints are made to the principal about the marshmallows being stolen every night from the kitchen. After eating some of her Aunt Pandora's Cody turns into Princess Puffer fish.

The Evil Echo:

Halo Nightly (Princess Candy) is back, using her super powers to fight the Evil Echo, a shape shifter out to win Cody Phinn's attention. As a shape shifter, Echo is able to make people believe she's Halo—or at least the dark side of Halo. Echo goes around doing things that are uncharacteristic of Halo who is shocked when even her grandmother accuses her of doing something wrong. This female superhero will, undoubtedly, appeal to young girls.

These books are not only a ton of fun for MG readers, they combine great storytelling with the madly-popular graphic novel format. Readers of Dragonbreath, Bone, and The Amulet series will enjoy them. I know my daughter currently gobbles up anything structured in graphic novel form.

As a middle grade author, I balked at the rise in popularity of graphic novels, feeling like they weren't "real" literature. I didn't think they counted as quality reading time for my kids. And yes, I was a butthead for thinking that. As an educator, I have watched as reluctant readers have become less reluctant, as vocabularies and fluency have improved, and as graphic novels have been the doorway to other, more traditional books. They are the best of both worlds for kids--great stories and awesome graphics.

What are your thoughts about the 
graphic novel vs. the traditional novel? 


  1. I give Frankie Pickle, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Side Kicks and so many others high regard for sparking an interest in reading in my house.

    1. I've never heard of Frankie Pickle. I'll have to check that one out. :)

  2. This is a toughie for me. I have always shunned graphic novels as long comic books, and maintained that they aren't "true" novels, but recent books have gotten me to change my mind, more so because my students seem to be digging them so much. I've had students preach the full narrative arc in their graphic novels, and some of the novel-to-graphic adaptations are pretty darn cool as well. So I'm a fence-rider right now. Good post!

  3. I hear you. Until this past year, I have always been a fence-rider, too. My daughter and high school students finally opened my eyes to the fact that kids are getting a lot more out of graphic novels these days than I ever imagined they could. Thanks for the comment, Mike!

  4. Hooray if the graphic novels do become a gateway for reluctant readers to more traditional formats. I am all for encouraging people to read.

    1. Exactly! That was the turning point of my own opinion re: graphic novels. They work AMAZINGLY well with the reluctant readers.

  5. Oh Goodness, these looks like my kind of book. Wish they were a giveaway :)

    To be very honest, I've never read a graphic novel. But I love MG with pictures (Milo, the Franny K. Stein series, Roald Dahl's books, etc).

    I love the concept of these books above. I wonder if I'll ever get them in my library within the next decade (slow library :(

    Thanks for the sugary sweet post :)

    1. They really are a lot of fun. Maybe they'll be my next giveaway--good idea! :)

  6. I got into graphic novels later in life (16 instead of 6) and as the blogger said above, there's more going on then it might look to those on the outside, for unlike fiction picture books for young readers (Nonfiction PBs are a WHOLE different world), they require morre planning and thought that people sometimes take for granted.

    It takes great effort to make comics seem effortless. That goes for the WORDS, and the art, too.

    This is something a lot of "Writing is writing, no matter the form" folks don't always understand, or oversimplfy, to the point of (Unintentionally, in most cases) belittling the unique process of marrying art with text. More constrained the picture books in some ways, yet more complex, all at the same time.

    But as I often say to anyone who'll listen, being open to reading a specific type of book is one thing, writing it is not always a one-to-one ratio.

    As a reader (Taking off my writer's hat a moment) I love and respect the comic/graphic novel form, but less into superheroes and more into the fantasy or adventure stuff.

    1. You are exactly right, Taurean. Sometimes, the simpler something appears, the more difficult it is to create. Thanks for bringing that up. :)

  7. These look so fun! Before I had kids of my own, I snubbed my nose at the graphic novel craze. But now, I love them! My oldest learned to read on Calvin and Hobbes and is already drawn to Captain Underpants & co. I think anything that gets a kid to pick up a book is a win.


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!