Saturday, August 29, 2009

Babymouse: Dragonslayer

Babymouse: dragonslayer by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm, Random House, 2009 -- publisher supplied review copy

So, I'm looking at books in the children's section at Boulder Bookstore and I hear a snicker, then a cough of laughter, then that sort of sustained snort that morphs into a laughing guffaw. I looked over my shoulder and saw a boy, I would peg him at 5th grade, reading ... a Babymouse book. He was smiling as his eyes darted across the pages which were being turned eagerly.

When I read this interview with Jennifer and Matthew Holm at, I knew this bit was right on.
We started out intending the audience to be elementary school girls, but the series has really found its own audience. Boys love it (they don’t care about the pink), and the age group skews higher than we thought.

I love Babymouse. I bought a pink telephone a few years ago because of Babymouse. In fact, the entlings would swear I am going through some sort of pink period, not unlike Picasso went through his "blue period."

I have to say though, that Dragonslayer is my very, very, favorite installment in this series so far.

Here is the pink-print: 1 graphic novel featuring my most beloved illustrated novel character + most of my favorite fandoms + a struggle with the academic subject that filled me with the most confusion, fear, and self doubt = the fun, the whimsy, the heartfelt chuckles that are this latest in the Babymouse series.

The academic subject that filled me with the most confusion, fear, and self doubt was not chemistry. I could balance equations until the cows came home which resulted in the best grade I ever made in science. No, early on, I decided math was one of those things I just did NOT get.

I can look back now and see it was a developmental thing. I actually got much better at math as time went by but I do not think I ever felt that way. I completely identify with Babymouse's wail, "But I'm not good at math!" The dragon that Babymouse must slay is MATH. Happily, as she IS a marvelous reader, she has tomes of characters from beloved fantasy stories to help her.

It is important to realize that just because we do not understand a subject or it is difficult does not mean we cannot get better at it with practice and stick-to-it-ness. The Holmes sibs never hit the reader over the head with "the lesson" or "moral of the story" though. They just tell a hilarious tale of an endearing and brave everymouse who is doing the best she can. I will NOT give away a single one of the extremely witty allusions because their appearances will delight the reader.

I *heart* Babymouse. I am Babymouse.

This one has to be on your library shelf.
School librarians, it is the start of a new budget year. Put this one on your acquisition list!
Now would be a good time.
I've even linked some vendors for you below!

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Kate Coombs said...

I love Babymouse, and I think the books are well suited for kids in middle school, even, especially reluctant readers. Thanks for the review--I'll look for Dragonslayer. Especially since I was a math-hating kid, too!

Vivian Mahoney said...

i just picked this up for my 5th grader, who loves Babymouse, but dislikes Math. Can't wait to see what she thinks. Glad you liked this!