Trolls #1: Hugs and Friends

screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-11-35-21-amWriter: Trolls Writer: Dave Scheidt; Bergens Writer: Tini Howard
Artist and Colorist: Kathryn Hudson
Age Range: 6-10
Release: September 2016
Pages: 64
Rating: 2 out of 5

Description from Publisher:

It’s the Trolls first graphic novel! Who are the Trolls? Who are the Bergens? Why is there one Troll who isn’t happy like all the other Trolls? And why does this Troll know more about the Bergens than any other Troll? Find out more about Poppy and Branch in this all-new collection of comics that take place before the Trolls motion picture. Warning: You may never look at a cupcake the same way after you see this graphic novel.

DISCLAIMER:  I received an advance copy of Trolls #1: Hugs and Friends from the publisher through NetGalley for the purposes of writing a review.

My kids and I wanted to like this book, but something was lost. If you haven’t seen the movie Trolls and don’t know the characters, this graphic novel doesn’t help to introduce the them and what they are about. There are fifteen short stories in the book with 55 actual story pages. This gives you an average of three pages per story. Not a lot time to create a story and get into it.

My daughter, who reads a lot of graphic novels, finished this in one setting. She told me that the stories were uninteresting and the characters were forgettable. She usually reads books many times, but I have yet to see her read this one twice. She (and I) went into this book hoping to meet the characters (especially since this is the first book and we haven’t seen the movie) and find out who they are. It feels like the authors assumed that everyone reading the book has seen the movie.

I really like the illustrations by Kathryn Hudson. They made the characters more enjoyable. The only problem was that the stories didn’t keep me or my daughter engaged.


Barbie #1: Fashion Superstar

screen-shot-2016-11-20-at-7-54-41-pmWriter: Sarah Kuhn
Artist: Alitha Martinez
Age Range: 6-10
Release: January 2017
Pages: 64
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

DISCLAIMER:  I received an advance copy of Barbie Fashion Superstar from the publisher through NetGalley for the purposes of writing a review.

Fashion designer Whitney Yang, chose Barbie out of thousands of people to be her assistant in her upcoming fashion show. This show is very important to Yang as Christine Vega, a famous rock star, will be in the audience and Whitney Yang wants to design for her. Barbie, while trying to prepare for the show, takes a page from Whitney’s life – “find your own vision”. Barbie soon realizes that finding your own vision is hard when you want someone else to admire your work. Will Barbie find her vision when her mentor, Whitney Yang, decides to call off the show when the  bassoonist says he will not play because the energy isn’t right, one model cannot find her shoes, the model showing off the dress that will close the show (and possibly impress Christine Vega) has the flu, and Whitney’s blueberry smoothie gets dumped on the final dress?

We love Barbie win this house and this graphic novel did not let down. My daughter, age 9, loved that Barbie’s first graphic novel was about fashion. Although the problems seemed daunting for Barbie, my daughter loved that Barbie didn’t get mad and walk away. Barbie was able to look inside herself and use what she knows – her love of science and her creativity. Barbie also didn’t go it alone. She looked to her friends and their talents to help.

My daughter did love the book and so did I. The concern that I had was that the book dealt with fashion – not that that’s a bad thing. My daughter loves fashion, but Barbie has had many (many) careers over her many years. The theme in this book could have been woven into any of those. In the book, Barbie mentions how much she likes science, but just in passing. The book could have used the same premise and could have been done in a science lab, animal shelter, airport…well you get my point. With that said, I would still recommend this book to anyone who loves/likes Barbie. The story is wonderful and the artwork is very good. You will not be disappointed.