Thursday, June 17, 2010

Alison Dare by J. Torres and J. Bone (Alison Dare - Double Blog Dare Tour

(Or How Alison Dare Explored My Basement Instead of Crossing a Famous River)

Welcome! Today is the second to last day (day 9) of The Double Blog Dare Tour (week 2, more links in the link) and boy has Alison Dare had many an adventure around the world! She even took the time to visit my house where she immediately took off to explore my basement (just a word about my basement: half of it is solid rock that they had to "blast" out in the 1900s when they moved the house to its current location). Onward to Alison's Basement Adventure. Here we see her beginning to climb in the dark:

Alison Dare in the Dark.

After a moment of uncertainty Alison continues her climb:

Alison Dare hanging on!
Barely hanging on, Alison Dare continues her way up the cliff edge to find:

Alison Dare on the Edge!
She can tell there is something in the dark up there, but what? Now that her feet have found better footing, Alison makes her way up to discover:
Alison Dare and the Mysterious Cave!

A cave! What could be in the cave? Well, readers, this is where YOU come in! Tundra Books is sponsoring a contest to enter and win an Alison Dare Prize Pack, which could include signed copies of Alison Dare: Little Miss Adventures and Alison Dare: The Heart of the Maiden and much more (They have all kinds of Alison Dare GOODIES!). Visit here for details on the photo contest.

Now onward to the review!

Title: Alison Dare: Little Miss Adventures and Alison Dare: The Heart of the Maiden
J. Torres
Illustrator: J. Bone
Tundra Books
Copyright: 2010
Price: $10.95 each
ISBN: 978-0-88776-934-4 (Little Miss Adventures) and 978-0-88776-935-1 (The Heart of the Maiden
Summary and Quick Thoughts:
Alison Dare: Little Miss Adventures sets the stage to introduce Alison Dare, the 12 year old daughter of Alan Dodd, librarian and Superhero Blue Scarab, and of Alice Dare, archeologist with a taste of adventure. This first volume collects individual stories of Alison as she finds a genie and makes three wishes, tells the love story of her parents and the Blue Scarab’s true identity to her best friends, and how she tries to set her parents up for a picnic, except Baron Von Baron stops by to pick up a prized possession.

The first half of Alison Dare: The Heart of the Maiden collects a few more of Alison’s adventures. The first is her story of what she did over summer vacation, quickly followed by an “issue” explaining what really happened. Alison celebrates her birthday and thinks her father gave her a magical stone for her birthday, but was that really the gift and did it really do what Alison used it for? The second half of the book is a full story about Alison and her friends, Wendy and Dot as they discover the nuns of their Catholic school have a secret that they are trying to guard as well as find before the wrong hands do. With Alison’s help, someone discovers the secret, but is it the right group?
Will Teens Like It? This is a GREAT all ages title. There’s something for parents and something for children.
Things to be aware of: none (unless you don’t like that her parents are separated).
Further Thoughts: Alison Dare is a strong and smart 12 year old girl. She knows what she wants to do and often goes out to do it, without thinking through all of the consequences. Luckily for her, she has her friends, her parents, and the mysterious Uncle Johnny to save her at the right moment.

When this book was first introduced to me by the publisher, I automatically thought “Indiana Jones,” but as I read the stories, I actually didn’t see that as much. The stories have a bit of action, adventure, suspense, and mystery to them. Even though I know there are only these two books, I keep wondering “Is there more?” I am curious as to Uncle Johnny’s story, there is something about Dot’s Dad I want to know about, and there seem to be more hints dropped “in passing” that I’m curious to see how they play out. Also, do Alison’s parents ever get back together?

In an interview with Publisher’s Weekly, J. Torres mentioned that the separated parents was an addition of his own because it provides a different dynamic. I applaud this, but at the same time, wish her parents were together and was a bit surprised when I came across this information in the story.

Now, to the characters! I’ve had The Philosopher Musician read these books and we both agree each character is a stereotypical character. Typically, I don’t  mind this, especially since it can work. Alison is the adventure type, always poking her nose somewhere she shouldn’t. Wendy is the book and nerdy type who always offers the right bit of information at the right moment. Alan Dodd is the typical male librarian stereotype (that I’ve seen in comics). His superhero side is like other popular superheroes. As you can see the list goes on, but this is not a bad thing. In fact, the characters all have slightly different quirks than the typical “stock” characters and help to add interest to the stories. For kids, this adds into what they are all ready reading and all ready know. For parents, this can add a sense of reminiscence. For librarians, this opens the doors to how and where you can recommend this title (J. Torres in the same interview mentioned earlier said Tintin was an inspiration).

My only issue with the books is that in Heart of the Maiden, it seems the stories are out of order as a story with Alison and her “gift” is in the middle of the story arc about her birthday party, which confused me after I read it. This may be my copy though, or there may be something I missed. This is a strong graphic novel title fit for all ages and could even be in school collections.
Bonus: This blog tour is a bonus! Visit the Author and Illustrators links for more information about what they do (such as J. Torres who writes all kind of comics, including one that I can say was part of my teen years: Teen Titans Go!)

Source: Publisher provided copies as part of Blog Tour!

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