Monday, February 27, 2012

Flight Explorer, Volume One

As part of the judging process for the Cybils, I read and loved Volume Eight of the Flight graphic novels. When I spotted the first volume of the series, adapted for younger readers, I knew I had to check it out.

I love short stories and graphic novels, so Flight Explorer was perfect for me. Kazu Kibuishi rounded up a variety of illustrated stories that will appeal to readers who love fantasy, action, interesting settings, and fun characters. Many of the stories from this first volume have since become their own full-length graphic novels (Jellaby, Zita the Spacegirl, and Missile Mouse), so it often felt like visiting old friends.

You may recall my affection for Kean Soo's Jellaby. In the most heartwarming story in the collection, Jellaby experiences his first snowfall and shares a sweet moment with Portia. I can't get enough of their friendship.

I was also charmed by Phil Craven's story, "Big Mouth". The giant circular main character is enthusiastic and has a difficult time making friends, until he meets exactly the right one. This is the kind of story I want to keep at the ready for when one of my students is struggling to fit in. This story is simple enough for my ESOL students of varying levels to be able to add a few panels at any point in the story, changing the meaning or giving more examples of Big Mouth's quest.

The range of stories in Flight Explorer makes it a worthwhile investment for classroom libraries. I have a list of readers that I know will enjoy it as much as I did.

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