Post-It Note Reviews: Flying pigs, witches, chronic illness, money management, and more!
Post-it Note Reviews are a great way to display books in your library or classroom, a way to let kids recommend their favorite titles without having to get up in front of everyone and do a book talk, and an easy way to offer a more personal recommendation than just the flap copy offers.
Frequent blog readers may have noticed I’m doing a lot more post-it-style reviews and less longer, individual review posts. Partially this is because my way of coping with the many upsetting pieces of the past year has been to drown myself in reading, so I’m burning through so many more books and want to share them, in some form, here. It’s been so hard for authors to be able to promote their books, through things like release parties or festivals or other events, and I want to share as many books as I can particularly these days to help them get the exposure they deserve.
All descriptions from the publishers. Transcriptions of the Post-It notes are below each description.
Batpig: When Pigs Fly by Rob Harrell (ISBN-13: 9780593354155 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 11/09/2021, Ages 7-10)
Introducing a supremely hilarious graphic novel featuring an unstoppable, super-swine hero who boldly fights for justice . . . in between taking mud baths and eating tasty sandwiches.
Gary Yorkshire was your perfectly average, fuzzy pink pig who loved tasty sandwiches, video games, mud baths, and hanging out with his friends Carl the fish and Brooklyn the bat. Until one day . . . a radioactive bat bite gives him powers he never would have dreamed of! Inspired by his old Crimson Swine comics, Gary decides that he’ll use his powers for good and becomes (drumroll) Batpig! Now he just needs a good zinger of a Batpig slogan, a spandex costume that flatters his rear end . . . and maybe a little advice about how in the world to defeat supervillains?
(POST-IT SAYS: Hand this to kids endlessly rereading the Dog Man series. Lots of wacky hijinks, silly characters, and humor. The big, bright panels of art add a lot of detail and action to an already fast-paced series.)
The Sleepover by Michael Regina (ISBN-13: 9780593117361 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 11/09/2021, Ages 8-12)
Perfect for fans of Stranger Things, this middle grade graphic novel follows a group of kids trying to cheer up their friend after a recent loss with a fun-filled sleepover, but their plans soon take a dark turn when they discover his new nanny may literally be a monster.
When the Russo family returns home from vacation to discover their nanny, Ruby, has unexpectedly passed away, Matthew takes the news the hardest. After weeks of reeling, his three best friends decide to cheer him up with a night of junk food, prank calls, and scary movies. But their plans for a sleepover are jeopardized when Matt’s single mother—unable to take any more time off of work—is forced to hire a new nanny on the fly to watch over Matt and his younger sister, Judy.
Miss Swan, however, is all too happy to have the boys over. And although she seems like the perfect babysitter, letting the kids eat whatever they want and mostly leaving them alone, there’s something about her that Matt doesn’t trust. He thinks she may actually be the witch from local legend—the one who torments children into the night and then eats them. Is he just having a hard time dealing with Ruby’s replacement, as his friends suspect? Has he watched one too many scary movies, as his mom fears? Or are he and his horror-buff friends in for the fright of their lives as they come face-to-face with a real monster?
(POST-IT SAYS: Set in 1993, this is a creepy, horror-inspired graphic novel that actually is all about grief and loss. A satisfyingly lengthy read full of atmospheric art and plenty of action.)
Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear by Trang Nguyen, Jeet Zdung (ISBN-13: 9780593353622 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 09/14/2021, Ages 8-12)
* “Nguyen’s heartfelt tale is perfect for animal-loving fans of Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan and Rosanne Parry’s A Wolf Called Wander.”—School Library Journal, starred review
A middle grade graphic novel adventure based on a true story, in which a young conservationist overcomes the odds to save and return a sun bear to its natural habitat.
When endlessly curious and tenacious Chang discovers a bear bile farm near her home in Vietnam, she decides to do everything she can to save wild animals—by becoming a conservationist! After teaching herself survival skills, documenting each rainforest plant and animal she sees in her field notebook, and disproving the critics who think she isn’t old enough or strong enough, Chang is finally accepted as a rescue center volunteer. But her toughest challenge yet comes when she’s tasked with returning Sorya—the sun bear she raised from infancy—back into the wild. Because despite being a different species, Sorya is Chang’s bestfriend. And letting a friend go is neve reasy . . . even when it’s the right thing to do.
With breathtaking art and STEM facts galore, Chang’s daring story is for any young reader, animal lover, and intrepid explorer!
(POST-IT SAYS: A fascinating and heart-warming story that’s visually unlike most recent graphic novels. Animal fans will love Chang and Sorya’s unique relationship. Beautiful illustrations with so much detail to enjoy, too!)
With Great Power: The Marvelous Stan Lee by Annie Hunter Eriksen, Lee Gatlin (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781645672852 Publisher: Page Street Publishing Publication date: 10/19/2021, Ages 4-8)
Every superhero has their origin story: a radioactive spider bite turns ordinary teen Peter Parker into Spider-Man, wealthy Tony Stark escapes captivity by building his Iron Man suit, scientist Bruce Banner survives gamma rays only to transform into the Hulk.
For Stan Lee, it was books of adventure, monsters, and magic that helped him transform from an ordinary boy to a superstar superhero creator. At first, reading these stories was a pathway to a world bigger than his family’s tiny apartment in New York City, but it wasn’t long until Stan was crafting his own stories, creating comics professionally when he was still just a teenager! Still, writing wasn’t exciting when the heroes were always the same: strong, perfect, and boring. Stan had a revolutionary idea. What if anyone—even an ordinary kid—could be a superhero?
Discover more about the life of the Cameo King, known to many for his appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and how he revolutionized comics with this vibrant introduction bustling with action, humor, and references for fans new and old. ‘Nuff said!
(POST-IT SAYS: I absolutely love the art in this book that’s perfect for young Marvel fans and aspiring comic book creators. A cute, lively love letter to a comics icon and to creativity itself.)
Some Days: A Tale of Love, Ice Cream, and My Mom’s Chronic Illness by Julie A. Stamm, Chamisa Kellogg (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781615198108 Publisher: The Experiment Publication date: 10/26/2021, Ages 2-5)
Wyatt’s mom Rosie has MS, but nothing can stop their adventures, big and small!
Even when Wyatt’s mom isn’t feeling her best, he still thinks she’s a superhero! Rosie and Wyatt go on adventures every day: On sleepy days, they build a cozy pillow fort just for two. On wobbly days, Wyatt gets out Rosie’s magical walking stick and they cast spells on his toys. And on one super-special day, the whole family heads to town for the big “funraiser”!
Warm and uplifting, Some Days is the perfect story to share with your child about life with multiple sclerosis—or any chronic illness. Although some days are fast and some are slow, Rosie and Wyatt fill each one with love, excitement, and fun . . . not to mention ice cream!
(POST-IT SAYS: A valuable look at what it’s like to live with a chronic illness—specifically MS. A loving, factual look at how it affects day-to-day life.)
Make Your Own Money: How Kids Can Earn It, Save It, Spend It, and Dream Big, with Danny Dollar, the King of Cha-Ching by Ty Allan Jackson, Nicole Miles (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781635863710 Publisher: Storey Books Publication date: 10/26/2021, Ages 8-12)
Saving money for something? Then this is the book for you! Danny Dollar, the “King of Cha-Ching,” will teach you to make money, save money, and spend money wisely—and to dream big! Maybe you get an allowance (clean the bathroom anyone?) or have been gifted money (birthday present?) but did you know that you can actually start a business and make your own money? Even as a kid! It’s called being an entrepreneur.
Danny shares tips for starting your own business, like how to write a business plan and raise start-up money (the money you need to get your business going).
Plus, you’ll learn how to open a bank account, create a budget, invest, and donate money. Danny will even introduce you to real life kids who are making their own money—and lots of it. Free yourself from having to ask your parents for money, and start making your own today!
(POST-IT SAYS: With abundant full-color illustrations and a conversational tone, a semi-boring subject jumps to life. A great resource! Filled with facts, tips, and ways to brainstorm. Worksheets encourage business planning and budgeting.)
Lifetime Passes by Terry Blas, Claudia Aguirre (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781419746673 Publisher: Abrams ComicArts – Surely Publication date: 11/23/2021, Ages 12-18)
In this darkly comedic YA graphic novel, a group of teens starts a program to bring senior citizens to a local theme park to take advantage of the unofficial park policy: If someone dies on the property, the rest of their party is given lifetime passes!
Sixteen-year-old Jackie Chavez loves her local amusement park, Kingdom Adventure, maybe more than anything else in the world. The park is all she and her friends Nikki, Daniel, and Berke—although they aren’t always the greatest friends—talk about. Kingdom Adventure is where all Jackie’s best memories are, and it’s where she feels safe and happy. This carries even more weight now that Jackie’s parents have been deported and forced to go back to Mexico, leaving Jackie in the United States with her Tía Gina, who she works with at the Valley Care Living seniors’ home. When Gina tells Jackie that they can’t afford a season pass for next summer, Jackie is crushed. But on her next trip to Kingdom Adventure, she discovers a strictly protectedsecret: If a member of their party dies at the park, the rest of their group gets free lifetime passes.
Jackie and her friends hatch a plot to bring seniors from Valley Care Living to the park using a fake volunteer program, with the hopes that one of the residents will croak during their visit. The ruse quickly gets its first volunteer—a feisty resident named Phyllis.
What starts off as a macabre plan turns into a revelation for Jackie as Phyllis and the other seniors reveal their own complex histories and connections to Kingdom Adventure, as well as some tough-to-swallow truths about Jackie, her friends, and their future.
With artist Claudia Aguirre, Terry Blas has crafted a graphic novel that is dark and deeply moving. This book is Cocoon meets Heathers—a twisted satire about a magical land and the people who love it, even to the point of obsession. Jackie’s summer is about to turn into a wild ride filled with gallows humor, friendship, and fun—or is it?
(POST-IT SAYS: “Darkly comedic” is right! Love the depth and connection that comes from the eventual intergenerational friendships. Also love that Jackie and Danny realize how awful their other friends are! Dynamic artwork conveys lots of emotions and enhances the story.)
The Art of Running Away by Sabrina Kleckner (ISBN-13: 9781631635779 Publisher: North Star Editions Publication date: 11/16/2021, Ages 8-14)
Twelve-year-old Maisie is an artist. When she’s in front of her sketchbook or apprenticing at Glenna’s Portraits, the family-run art shop her grandmother started, the world makes sense. She doesn’t think about Calum, her brother who mysteriously left home and cut ties with her family six years ago, or her parents’ insistence that she “broaden her horizons” and try something new—something that isn’t art.
But when Glenna’s Portraits falls on hard times, Maisie’s plan to take over the shop when she’s older and become a lifelong artist starts to crumble. In desperation to make things right, Maisie runs away to London to reconnect with her adult brother, hoping he might be the key to saving the shop. But as Maisie learns about her family’s past from Calum, she starts to rethink everything she’s ever known. Maisie must decide not only if saving her family’s art shop is worth it, but if she can forgive her parents for the mistakes they’ve made.
(POST-IT SAYS: A great read. Deep family issues are explored in a way that feels realistic, complicated, and ultimately loving. Lots of LGBTQIA+ rep. Maisie really wrestles with her feelings toward her parents as she grows closer to her estranged brother.)
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About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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