Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Review)
reviews* / October 31, 2014

Title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid Author: Jeff Kinney Publication Year: 2007 Pages: 224 Genre: Fiction, Graphic Fiction, Children’s Fiction Source: Purchased from Borders in Abu Dhabi Mall From the cover: It’s a new school year, and Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. The hazards of growing up before you’re ready are uniquely revealed through words and drawings as Greg records them in his diary. In book one of this debut series, Greg is happy to have Rowley, his sidekick, along for the ride. But when Rowley’s star starts to rise, Greg tries to use his best friend’s newfound popularity to his own advantage, kicking off a chain of events that will test their friendship in hilarious fashion. Last year, I taught this book to some of my higher-level ESL students in Abu Dhabi. Lots of them had seen the movie, but almost none of them had known it was a book first. One thing that the students liked about Diary of a Wimpy Kid was the cartoons. They really helped with understanding the main ideas of the story. The girls liked the antics…

Chicken With Plums (Review)
reviews* / November 5, 2010

Title: Chicken With Plums Author: Marjane Satrapi Publication Year: 2006 Pages: 96 Genre: Non-Fiction, Graphic Novel Source: Purchased from Chapters From the cover: Acclaimed graphic artist Marjane Satrapi brings what has become her signature humor and insight, her keen eye and ear, to the heartrending story of a celebrated Iranian musician who gives up his life for music and love. When Nasser Ali Khan, the author’s great-uncle, discovers that his beloved instrument is irreparably damaged, he takes to his bed, renouncing the world and all its pleasures. Over the course of the week that follows, we are treated to vivid scenes of his encounters with family and friends, flashbacks to his childhood, and flash-forwards to his children’s future. And as the pieces of his story fall into place, we begin to understand the breadth of his decision to let go of life. The poignant story of one man, it is also stunningly universal — a luminous tale of life and death, and the courage and passion both require of us. This is probably my least favourite of Satrapi’s graphic novels. I get that it’s supposed to be about the deep and hard reasons why the main character decides to just…