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Fleen Book Corner: Four Women, Six Books

Only one item today kiddies, but it’s a good one: the much-respected (and usually amusingly snarky) Kirkus Reviews have started releasing their Best of 2010 lists, and we’ll be paying particular attention to the Best Children’s Books and Best Books for Teens (both lists are broken down to sub-groupings — historical novels, nonfiction, picture books, etc — just look at the complete lists for each age range), because there is where you will find webcomickers.

From the Children’s list (graphic novel and chapter books division), two by Collen AF Venable, creator of the late, lamented Fluff in Brooklyn and possessor of the awesome connect-the-dots giraffe tatHamster and Cheese and And Then There Were Gnomes (Guinea PIG, Pet Shop Private Eye, #1 and #2, respectively, with art by Stephanie Yue). Sasspants the guinea pig solves mysteries in the pet shop, with just the right tone of sarcasm to demonstrate that Venable knows kids get subtle humor, too (also discussions of animals and their poop). As an added bonus, Venable spends her days book-designing the :01 Second line, including fellow honoree Aaron Renier’s The Unsinkable Walker Bean.

Same division, two books by Fleen Fave Ursula Vernon, Dragonbreath — Attack of the Ninja Frogs and Dragonbreath — Curse of the Were-Wiener (the second and third entries in the Dragonbreath series). Same sensibilities and goofy fun as found in Vernon’s (soon to be wrapped, sniff) Digger, toned down a bit for the pre-teen set. Be sure to also check out the first (self-titled) Dragonbreath and the vaguely-related-to-Digger Nurk: The Strange, Surprising Adventures of a (Somewhat) Brave Shrew for more delights.

Moving up to the Teens (or Young Adult, if you prefer) list, again in graphic novels, one each from Raina Telgemeier and Hope Larson — the justly-famous SMILE and Mercury, about which much has been said previously in these parts.

Fleen congratulates the honorees, and thanks them for their service to comics — keep in mind, all of the books recognized by Kirkus on these lists were for younger readers. The extent to which creators have jobs in the future (and that readers have worthwhile material to consume) will be determined in large part by the numbers of kids that pick up the habit of reading words + pictures. Larson, Telgemeier, Venable, and Vernon are doing their part to pass that habit on, and we are all luckier for it.

YAY! Thanks for not mentioning my bad math, Gary.

For the record, I have been punched by Ursula many times, hugged by Urs and Colleen, and shaken hands with Raina and Hope. Obviously I have the Kirkus Touch.

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