Tag Archives: Matt Phelan

A Way Without Words

28 Oct

I’d heard good things about Matt Phelan’s Snow White,  so I put it on hold at the library.

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When it arrived, I leafed through it, confused at first. I read the jacket flap and became totally intrigued by his alternate setting for this traditional tale.

Publisher’s Summary:The scene: New York City. The dazzling lights cast shadows that grow ever darker as the glitzy prosperity of the Roaring Twenties screeches to a halt. Enter a cast of familiar characters: a young girl, Samantha White, returning after being sent away by her cruel stepmother, the Queen of the Follies, years earlier; her father, the King of Wall Street, who survives the stock market crash only to suffer a strange and sudden death; seven street urchins, brave protectors for a girl as pure as snow; and a mysterious stock ticker that holds the stepmother in its thrall, churning out ticker tape imprinted with the wicked words “Another . . . More Beautiful . . . KILL.” In a moody, cinematic new telling of a beloved fairy tale, extraordinary graphic novelist Matt Phelan captures the essence of classic film noir on the page—and draws a striking distinction between good and evil.

 There are very few words in Phelan’s retelling of this classic tale. But words are not needed. The story is so familiar and his illustrations so detailed that the story tells itself. Check out the trailer:

My favorite books of 2013

31 Dec

Although I still have a stack of books to read, here are my 2013 favorites so far:

Picture Books (Fiction)

UnknownThe Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

UnknownThe Mighty Lalouche byMatthew Olshan

Unknown-2Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

UnknownUnicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea

Picture Books (Non-Fiction)

UnknownHoop Genius: How a Desperate teacher and a rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball by John Coy

Unknown-1On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne

Chapter Books 

UnknownThe Center of Everything by Linda Urban

UnknownCounting by 7’s by Molly Golberg Sloan

UnknownFlora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

UnknownThe True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathy Appelt

Unknown-1The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

Graphic Novels

UnknownBluffton by Matt Phelan

UnknownOdd Duck by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon

UnknownRelish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

YA Lit

Unknown-1Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

UnknownReality Boy by A. S. King

imagesA Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger

UnknownWinger by Andrew Smith

UnknownYaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

Adult Lit

UnknownLoteria by Mario Alberto Zambrano

Unknown-1The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

Summers with Buster Keaton

7 Oct

When I first saw Bluffton by Matt Phelan, I thought it was going to be about a kid and an elephant.

Unknown

Imagine my surprise, not to mention my delight,  when I realized it was about Buster Keaton.

Unknown-1

Not the Buster Keaton of the silent movies, but the boy who would become the silent film star.

It’s the summer of 1908 in Muskegon, Michigan and Henry is bored. When a troupe of vaudeville performers arrive to vacation for the summer in Bluffton, a nearby neighborhood, Henry spends every free moment getting to know the animals and hanging out with the boys, one of whom is Buster Keaton. Keaton is already famous for his ability to take a fall better than anyone alive. The boys spend several summers together playing baseball and vying over the same girl. Along the way we learn about Buster’s life on stage and his transition to films.

My uncle ,Henry Smith, was a watercolorist and we had several of his painting in our house growing up. The watercolors of Phelan’s book seem perfect for this story, which I highly recommend.

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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