Friday, 21 February 2014


Bill is the grip of Graphic Novel Fever at the moment. After a friend shared the first volume of a Manga adaptation of Darren Shan's 'Cirque du Freak' with him in the back of the bus on a school trip a week or two ago he came back with eyes blazing. "It's SO SICK. Please can we get it? Please can we? Please can we?? Can we, can we, CAN we????" I've not seen him with that book hunger in a while.
Cue a trip to Gosh, Orbital and Forbidden Planet at the weekend to stock up with half term treats. I'd never taken Bill to Forbidden Planet before. He actually got a bit quivery when we went inside. He was like...well I guess he was like a kid in a comic shop. We spent a LONG time browsing Adventure Time figurines...

The required volumes of Manga 'Cirque Du Freak' proved disappointingly tricksome to track down however even within these warehouses of delight. It didn't stop us spending money. Another volume of Adventure Time comic, the acclaimed graphic novelisation of Coraline, Silverfin- all have been gobbled down on the sofa and on the tube this week as we've been out and about seeking half term Fun.

I picked up the first volume of Kazu Kibuishi's 'Amulet' series almost in passing. It looked too tempting to pass by. It's already proved an expensive impulse buy- as we immediately had to go back for the next two volumes and I am now being pestered continuously for the two last. Ah well. It's a bit lovely-an investment that'll be returned to I'm sure.

There is a whole vocabulary and set of references that I'm sure I should be employing to write about it- but although I'm not completely illiterate in the form, I am basically a newbie to the world of graphic novels. This is an outsider's perspective: 'Amulet' is an action packed romp through a fantasy world of glowing stones, evil elves, martial art expert foxes, talking trees, walking houses and lost cities in the sky. It's a bit Hobbity, a bit Star Warsy and a bit Studio Ghibli-y. There's a lot of fighting, some occasionally portentous speeches, and some funny robots too. There's also (be warned) some rather sad/scary bits. It has LITERALLY been unputdownable for Bill (alright I didn't put it down either... ) It also has the requisite kickass heroine. Huzzah.

Elf based fantasy isn't necessarily my bag but all I can say about 'Amulet' is that I can't imagine a more enticing book to put in front of that often mentioned mythical creature- the 'reluctant reader'- whether male OR female. The speech bubble text is clear, linear and easy to read and the action is non-stop. There's some awful pretty spreads in there too. Bill was finishing off the third volume in the tube yesterday and there was a boy sitting opposite him who was almost salivating at the sight of it, craning and jiggling to get a better look. He ended up asking his Dad for a piece of paper and a pen. As he got off the tube I saw he'd written a big underlined heading BOOKS and then halfway down the page the single word- 'Amulet'. Pester power based on the cover alone (and maybe Bill's obvious greedy pleasure).

The 'Amulet' series by Kazu Kibuishi, pub. Scholastic isbn 978-0-439-84681-3 This is a US import only (I think) so you may need to visit a specialist comic shop or (sigh) use Amazon to get hold of it.


  1. Thanks to your recommendation, a good friend has bought the first three volumes of 'Amulet' for my son's birthday. I can't wait for him to open his presents!