Thursday, September 2, 2010

Manga Moveable Feast: Yotsuba&! - Discussion

In my head Saturday: YES! I finally did it! I can finally participate in the Manga Movable Feast! Good Comics for Kids (at School Library Journal, many kudos to Robing Brenner on this one) this time is the host it and it doesn't start until August 30, and I have read the title and...oh drat, I've posted the review all ready... 

PS: I haven't read any of the other discussions this week, so be prepared for an addendum.

Little Librarian:
I am surprised to think about Yotsuba&! as a kid's title. Honestly, I would not suggest to put it in my children's collection at the library I work at and I almost always find it in the teen and adult collections at libraries. Why? I'm not exactly sure. Considering the creator behind the work (he wrote Azumanga Diaoh), I'd suspect that somewhere along the way, the creator would sneak something "questionable" in, but I haven't read past volume 1.

When I think of Yotsuba&! I don't think of kids reading the title, I think of adults reading the title. I learned about Yotsuba&! in college, from my college friends. Those in the web comic community know that a particular artist really loves reading Yotsuba&! so I link all of those things up to a teen and adult readership. In fact, if this is to be billed as a children's story, then why does it say in this post that Yotsuba&! is "seralized in Dengeki Daioh (Japanese website here), a magazine aimed at adult men[.]" I'm sorry, but that does not help the cause that this should/could be a kids' title. I honestly did not know that "While Yotsuba! is not officially a children’s series, as noted above, it has been embraced by young readers here in the United States as well as older readers." (Same post as above). I'm not one to go recommending this title to children. That's despite, if I remember rightly, the All Ages stamp on the back of the book by ADV.

Now don't get me wrong. I loved Yotsuba&! and think it is fantastically funny, adorable comic. I enjoyed her sense of wonder and her abandonment of her safety in the name of exploration, but some of the situations  make me feel it is better suited for a teen and adult audience (although, that's not to say kids won't discover it).

This is a place I'm willing to hear your thoughts. Why kids? Do you picture it or is it located in your library's children collection? If it is not, why do you think that? Why are kids picking this up (I'm pretty sure I know why...) Please discuss. I'm willing to be convinced.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Manga Movable Feast: Yotsuba&! and Chi's Sweet Home (Review Part)

SWEET! I'm excited to finally join in on a Manga Movable Feast. This time around it is the adorable comic: Yotsuba&! which I actually reviewed Volume 1 of way back in May. Basically, I loved the title and highly recommend it as a different title that will give your manga collection something fun to read. I enjoyed the first volume because of Yotsuba&s wild and crazy antics and that she is such a child and everything is new to her. Although, I wonder why I haven't picked the rest up...too many comics really.

As part of the Manga Movable Feast, people were asked to include a kids manga pick and seriously, what better title than my new all time favorite: Chi's Sweet Home volume 1. Enjoy!

Title: Chi’s Sweet Home Vol. 1
Author: Konami Kanata
Illustrator: Konami Kanata
Publisher: Vertical
Copyright: 2010
Price: $13.95
ISBN: 978-1-934287-81-1
Summary and Quick Thoughts: It all starts with a bird and a little kitten. Chi, the kitten,  grew interested in a bird and forgot to follow her mother and siblings back home from a day out walking. As Chi struggles to find her way home, she discovers a world full of scary things. Just as she gives up, luck would have it that a child falls in front of her and both have an understanding the other is unhappy. Chi is taken in by the Yamada family, despite the apartment complex rule that no pets are allowed. In quick, short and colorful chapters, it tells the story of Chi’s development and eventual adoption by the Yamada family. For any cat lover, or anyone who has raised a kitten who strayed from its family, this story will remind the reader of those days and elicit laughter and “awwws!”
Will Teens Like It? This is a great all ages title!
Things to be aware of: Nothing.
Further Thoughts:  Chi’s story covers everything from her attempts to get home, to settling, to her first bath (with lots of growling), to her litter training, to discovery of bouncy balls (one of many favorite cat toys), to her first vet trip (which reminds me of the story of a cat I know) and many other firsts and developments with the Yamada family. In this book, instead of just having the cat go “meow” or “miu” the reader also sees what Chi is thinking or saying with those meows and it is spot on with those thoughts.

The artwork is what really makes this particular work special. Chi’s fear, frustration, anger, excitement, and other expressions are clear and mimic a real cat in a cartoony way. Combined with the words, this is one of the few titles that I often found myself laughing out loud or grabbing one of my family members to show and say “isn’t that like a cat?”

Chi’s story also sometimes parallels Yohei’s (the son), story as he learns to use “the potty” and when he has a growth spurt. Many times I thought, this would be a perfect book for a child who is growing up and needs positive stories about how “this child could do it, so can you.”

Overall, I’d highly recommend this title as it is feel good story about a cat and her family as she grows and explores a little. Cat owners everywhere should be able to relate to many of these stories and fondly remember times with their own cats (or chuckle at moments such as the cat clawing the couch). It almost makes you want to have a kitten again…almost…(please do not offer me kittens. We have 2 cats who are entering the “senior” years plus a temperamental cat that lives with the dog on the main floor with my mum).
Bonus: This title is pricy, but you’re getting color which is a rarity in manga. If and when I get funds for myself, I’m getting this for my personal collection. And I might get a stuffed Chi too if I find one…oh dear, I've reached fan girl status....

Source:  Library copy.