20 September 2007

Review:: Babymouse, Queen of the World! (graphic novel)

Okay, I need to stop choosing all these pink images because the color is driving me a little nutty. Plus, I wanted to tackle a Japanese manga next, but I accidentally came across a little treasure called Babymouse, Queen of the World! I didn't even realize it was a series until I went to the website. And believe me, we're fortunate that this isn't the end of Babymouse.

It is everything that parents and teachers could wish for: a G-rated graphic novel with positive messages that actually make both kids and adults laugh. Positive messages like saving the planet against global warming, you ask? Goodness, no. This work tackles issues that are much more personal: social acceptance, self-compromise, and the importance of friendship. The tongue-in-cheek commentary from the narrator ensures that it never gets preachy.

You could draw similarities between Babymouse and Art Spiegelman's Maus, but I think that would be stretching it too far. Yes, there is a bit of a "mouse vs. cat" power scale here, and both have their own niche in the graphic novel world. Thankfully, though, the brother-and-sister writing duo Jennifer and Matthew Holm keep things light and bubbly with wild daydreaming sequences that beg to be read more than once.

Warning (though this comment is superfluous, since all you have to do is look at the cover to see who this is aimed at): I don't really see your average boy picking this up and saying, "Wow, I gotta read this!" This is very much intended to engross a girlie audience, with each page number engulfed in a small heart and the white/black/shades-of-pink coloring. With its random slips into manic creativity, though, I think this would be an entertaining story for both girls and boys if you could strip it of its blatant femininity. I don't recommend that, though, because that's totally part of its charm.

8.25 of 9
Endearingly over-the-top at times, all for the sake of entertainment
Quite fast with plenty to distract you without overwhelming you
From preteens up-- and anyone who has a thing for daydreaming, cupcakes or tiaras
Like it? Try this!::
Any of the other Babymouse adventures
Further Notes::
The Babymouse website is aimed at kids, but it's actually a bit of a hoot. Go to "Create Your Own Babymouse Story" under the "Glamour! Excitement! Adventure!" tab and fill in the bubbles with your own spicy dialogue. Take that, you ungracious wench!

Babymouse: Queen of the World! By Jennifer Holm and Matt Holm. Random House Books for Young Readers, 2005. 91 pages. $5.95