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Great Illustrated Books

Drama

By Raina Telgemeier

Scholastic / Graphix, 2012
Pages : 240
Suggested Ages: 9 and Up
ISBN: 9780545326988

There’s plenty of drama in Callie’s life – onstage and off!

Callie is the set designer for her middle school play. She wants it to go off with a bang – literally – and is building a cannon that really “fires” for the show. If only she could add some spark to her love life. Callie’s first experiences with romance are fizzling – and confusing. First, her long-time crush Greg finally breaks up with Bonnie, kisses Callie, then makes up with Bonnie! Then, when Jesse, a new boy at school, asks her out, Callie can’t figure out if it’s as friends or a date. It’s not until Jesse jumps-in to fill the heroine’s role when the star drops out, that Callie begins to understand. Head spinning? Yes! And exactly what middle-schoolers are used to! But nothing keeps infectiously-enthusiastic Callie down for long, especially when she’s got set design and her stage crew to keep her distracted.

Raina Telgemeier proves to be a fine director in this graphic novel. The action is well-paced and the characters reveal themselves as they face challenges, forge friendships, and explore their emotions. She keeps visual interest high by varying perspective and alternating full- and half-page scenes with panels and close-ups. Her palette reflects the emotion and ends, appropriately with a rosy hue for, despite her confusion, Callie remains focused on the thing that excites her most – set design. In this way, the author shows Callie growing into a confident, independent young woman and readers feel sure that someday, when the time is right, Callie will find her sweetheart. In a nice touch, Callie’s family quietly takes a supporting role in the background: we see mom picking her up after rehearsal, attending the play with Callie's enthusiastic little brother, and taking pictures of Callie before her date.

Readers couldn’t ask for a better role model than Callie. CLAPCLAPCLAPCLAPCLAP!

Reviewed by : JMcD

Themes : CREATIVE DRAMA.GRAPHIC NOVELS. IDENTITY. INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS. MIDDLE SCHOOL. SELF ESTEEM.

If you love this book, then try:

L'Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel.  Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012.



Telgemeier, Raina. Smile. Scholastic, Inc., 2010.



TenNapel, Doug. Bad Island. Scholastic, Inc., 2011.

Critics have said

"Telgemeier��s manga-infused art has some moments of heartache, but the generally cheerful and affirming story should be eagerly devoured by her many fans."
Publisher


"This reviewer was a little surprised at how affecting a graphic novel can be, but middle school readers and young teens will not be surprised at all."
VOYA


"The illustrations are perfect and absorb and represent every moment that goes into a production. Bravo!"
Children


"The full-color cartoon-style illustrations are graceful, assured, and, along with the twists and turns of the plot, guarantee an entertaining and enlightening read."
School Library Journal