Friday, April 30, 2010

Tokyo Mew Mew, Volume 1 by Mia Ikumi & Reiko Yoshida

Tokyo Mew Mew, Volume 1
In my neverending quest for more manga titles to acquire in my library, I'm reading just about any that are recommended to me. One such title was Tokyo Mew Mew, especially recommended for younger readers.

Ichigo is on a date with Masaya, one of the cutest boys in school. Too bad her took her to a museum to see an exhibit on endangered species. So boring, but Ichigo is willing to overlook this, because Masaya is so cute and sweet. While at the museum, Ichigo and four other girls accidentally become part of an experiment when the DNA of some of those endangered species is inserted into them. It causes the girls to have some of the characteristics of the animals. Ichigo is the first of these girl to be recruited to help fight the Kirema animas (creatures infected by aliens), but first she must find the other girls like her.

I'm curious about Tokyo Mew Mew's premise, and will read more in the series to see how the story develops. I can foresee lots of exciting possibilities with battles and the relationship dynamics. I'm already annoyed by the sweetness/cuteness overload, but I'm not surprised to find it in this series. I doubt it'll bother other readers like it does me. In fact, many may find it endearing.

I have lots of hopes of the story getting stronger as it continues, and I'm glad to find something else to add to my manga collection. I give this a C+ with hopes that the next volume may even be worth a B.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen by M.T. Anderson

The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen: M. T. Anderson's Thrilling Tales
I've wanted to read The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen for a long time. It's been so long since I put it on my TBR list, that I can't remember the exact reason why I put it there. Possibly, I read a great review or received a recommendation from a student. Anyway, I was eager to delve into the story and looking forward to a funny, entertaining story.

Three friends, Lily, Jasper and Katie, travel to a ski lodge for a vacation. What's so unusual about the trio is that each stars in his or her own series of children's books. When they arrive at the resort lodge, they discover that other stars of children's book series are also guests there. When the Hooper Quints are kidnapped, a priceless necklace is stolen, and some of the lodge's mounted animal heads go missing, the friends determine to solve each of the mysteries.

The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen missed meeting my expectations by a long shot. What I thought was an hilarious premise ended up just a stupid story. I honestly don't think young readers today would understand much less appreciate the references and homage to children's book series of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. Even I, who at least could recognize the references, really didn't 'get' it. I just kept wishing for the end of the story to get there as fast as possible, so I could be done. This is one I won't be recommending, a 'D' grade from me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio by Lloyd Alexander

The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio
I chose to read The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio, because I have adored much of Lloyd Alexander's work over the years. It seemed only fitting to read his last work.

Carlo discovers a hidden map of riches in a book purchased from a mysterious merchant at the local market. With the map in hand, Carlo decides to go on a grand adventure in order to locate the treasure. Along the way, he meets many unusual characters, including a servant that doesn't seem to do much work and a mysterious girl.

Carlo Chuchio seems to have all the right ingredients for a fabulous adventure, but it doesn't seem to mix right. The beginning of the story is bogged down in details and takes too long to take off. I doubt many readers would be patient enough to keep reading. I did enjoy the secondary characters much more than Carlo. Carlo seems much to immature and his rash actions don't inspire a fondness in the reader.

I think this story is just "okay," not even close when compared to some of Alexander's classic works. It's too slow getting started, too predictable at others, and at times a chore to read.  I'd recommend skipping this one and picking up one of the Prydain books instead. I'm probably being generous in giving this a grade of C.

Hulk: Misunderstood Monster written by Paul Benjamin and illustrated by David Nakayama and Juan Santacruz

Marvel Adventures Incredible Hulk Vol. 1: Misunderstood Monster
This collection of Incredible Hulk comics contains four different stories in the ongoing adventures of Bruce Banner a.k.a. the Incredible Hulk. By starting with the transformation of Bruce into the Hulk, even newbies to the story will know what's happening. The stories also introduce several reappearing characters with enough information that the reader will know who they are and what is their relation to Bruce/Hulk.

Although there's nothing surprising or new in this collection, fans of graphic novels and/or comics will find enjoyment in reading this one. This book will appeal to many -- I give it a C.