Thursday, May 5, 2016

LS 5603 20 Review: Babymouse: Queen of the World! (Babymouse #1)

Babymouse: Queen of the World! (Babymouse #1)
by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm

Holm, Jennifer L. & Matthew. Babymouse: Queen of the World!. New York: Random House Children's Books, 2005. ISBN 9780375832291

Plot Summary: 
Poor Babymouse. No time to read any of her fantastic Adventure books because of homework, cursed with curly whiskers that refuse to be sleek and smooth, lacking a steady diet of cupcakes…it’s a hard life she’s leading. Clearly she needs to become Queen of the World and rule over all she surveys. There’s just one hitch, before that can happen. Babymouse needs—with every fiber of her being—she NEEDS to get invited to Felicia Furrypaws sleepover party.
Critical Analysis:
Graphic novels have quickly become a hit with young adults; they seem to enjoy that they can get a fun, quirky story with fun illustrations. They are often stories that they can still relate to, despite a lot of them not being in the contemporary genre. Babymouse, for instance, is a fantasy novel with a small mouse being the protagonist. Despite this, the character is still incredibly relate able. Babymouse feels inadequate compared to the other people around her, and she wants nothing more than to be accepted and invited to the slumber party of the year. Of course, in order to do so, we see Babymouse struggling with deciding if she wants to change who she is to fit in, or simply be herself and realize there is more to life than being popular.

Despite being low fiction, the plot still seems incredibly similar to books of higher fantasy, and qualifies it for the genre more than simply just having a talking animal as the main character. Babymouse goes through a quest of her own throughout the novel, and the reader gets to have the enjoyment of following along. Babymouse's journey happens to consist of pages of fun, pink illustrations as it is a graphic novel, which make it even more engaging for young readers.

The theme and style of the book are both quite obvious as well, and it is clear the Holm siblings have determined a combination of witty words and quirky illustrations that can teach universal themes. In this case, Babymouse must determine if it is really important to be like everyone else, and to be popular. The style of the novel is consistent throughout as there is only black, white, and pink utilized in the pages, making the whole novel cohesive, even as Babymouse discusses different stories of her own. Overall, the style is engaging and certainly easy to follow.

Review Excerpts:

From School Library Journal: "You’ll be amazed at how much detail and how many funny moments the Holm siblings can pack into one Babymouse book."

From Publisher's Weekly: "Both tales share eye-grabbing black-and-pink graphics, and a perceptible Spiegelman influence simmers in the energetic ink illustrations of the dot-eyed heroine."

This is a wonderful graphic novel to use in order to help teach specific social skills, such as an extreme desire to fit in - this is especially beneficial for the middle school level when it seems like life or death. The rest of the books in the series would be great to use for connections as well. 

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