Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol

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Be Prepared is a middle grade graphic novel by Vera Brosgol. We found this book at the town library, and my girls were very excited because they’ve enjoyed some of her other books.

This is a semi-autobiographical story about Vera’s childhood, although she explains at the end how some details were exaggerated, etc. As the story begins, Vera wants nothing more than to fit in with her American classmates. They have American Girl dolls, Carvel ice cream cake, and stuffed crust pizza, and Vera’s single mother simply cannot provide such luxuries. There is only one “fancy” thing that Vera can do to emulate her wealthier classmates, and that is go to sleepaway camp.

Vera’s Russian cultural camp is nothing like the posh camps that her friends attend, and it takes awhile for her to get used to new people, new routines, and of course, the stinky outhouse. It’s not as easy as Vera thought it would be to make friends, and she wonders if she’ll ever find her place. Read more

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I Really Love You by Tatsuya Miyanishi

 

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I Really Love You is the latest book in Tatsuya Miyanishi’s Tyrannosaurus series. Over the years, my family has received the opportunity to read advanced copies of several of these Tyrannosaurus books, so even though my girls are growing out of picture books, it was still nice to revisit the series.

In this book, we are told that dinosaurs in the north speak a different language from dinosaurs in the south. Tyrannosaurus is feeling hungry, and a Tapejara agrees to help him find food. They both speak the same language, so Tyrannosaurus trusts his new friend- but it’s a trick! Luckily, the Tyrannosaurus escapes, and he encounters some Homalocephales. They don’t speak the same language, and the Tyrannosaurus thinks about eating them- after all, he’s still very hungry. But he ends up befriending them, and accepts their gifts of fish, clam, and berries. Despite their differences, they are able to strike up a meaningful friendship.    Read more