Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Graphic Novel Pick: Cardboard


Cardboard
written and illustrated by Doug Tennapel
Graphix (Scholastic)
2012
288 pages

This cautionary tale by Doug Tennapel unfolds in blatant, in-your-face full color illustrations that are both creepy and cool. Out of work carpenter Mike is down to his last seventy-eight cents and it’s his son Cam’s birthday. He happens upon a strange toy booth where a creepy and pushy elderly toy seller fulfills his need. It looks like only an empty cardboard box but old man Gideon promises that the box is full of ideas, adventure, and projects and it only costs seventy-eight cents, exactly the amount in Mike’s pocket. Coincidence, right? BUT. There. Are. Rules. 1. Mike must return every scrap of cardboard they don’t use, and 2. Mike can never ask for any more cardboard. If he agrees to the rules, he gets the box for Cam’s birthday. He hates that he feels like it’s the worst present ever, but he resigns himself to the fact that he’s dead broke.

Neighbors Marcus and Pink Eye bully Cam and laugh at his “present.” Cam is disappointed, but he knows they’ve fallen on hard times. He decides to make the best of it. His dad’s a carpenter after all. They go to work making a life-size human looking boxer. They measure and cut, and soon “Bill” is born. Bill comes to life! It’s going to be hard to keep a secret in this neighborhood; a man made out of cardboard who can walk and talk and who has feelings and wishes?

Cam can’t help but make Marcus jealous, and Marcus is not a “nice” boy. He tries to kill Bill, and when that doesn’t work, he steals cardboard scraps. The scraps seem to have a life of their own and soon Marcus’s house is overrun with “living” cardboard inventions hell-bent on destroying his house and the entire neighborhood. The creations have run amok; see what happens when someone breaks the cardinal rule?—which was return all the scraps to Gideon?
Soon, Marcus is seeking Cam and Mike’s help. Can Bill, Marcus, Mike, and Cam stop the evil cardboard army? What will happen to Bill if the cardboard meanies are defeated?

Highly, highly recommended for fans of graphic novels grades 5-8 and older kids who love well-imagined and beautifully designed graphic novels.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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