Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – The Graphic Novel

 

PeregrinesHomeLong ago I saw this book on the shelves. Something about the title struck me and it stayed in the back of my mind. Roll around to Christmas time and I notice that they have converted the original text into a graphic novel. A book I was interested in, now in picture form? Sign me up. Come Christmas morning (well not really, it was boxing day) I geek out as I find a handful of books in graphic novel form.

I will say this now, there are spoilers in the rambling below. I’ll avoid letting the ending away, but you have been warned. There is also lots of talk about the design/art side of this book. A bit of a unique addition since most of the books I have don’t lead themselves to that possibility.

style

I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the drawn artwork in contrast to the old black and white photos. It was nice to see the picture of the little girl that had grabbed me when I was walking around the bookstore was still present.

That day (boxing day) I read the first chapter of the book. One night this week I finished the other seven. Its odd, with pictures everyone can interpret them a little different so the ‘story’ will read differently. But seeing as how when you read, you definitely pick up different subtext based on your own experiences, it’s not so different.

Style wise it was almost nice that I had had the few week divide between the two reading sessions. The book starts when the protagonist (Jacob) is a kid. He’s listening to his grandfather tell stories of when he was a kid and lived at a group home. The styling shows that time in Jacob’s life all in color. The book then skips to Jacob’s “present day” when he is roughly a teenager. Now the world / book is in black and white.

I like about graphic novels is how the pictures exceed their frames. For instance in this one the monster's tongue leaves the first pane to drape over the second in one spot and free fall to the third in another. It gives the lingering feeling that the character is still feeling after seeing the monster. Hence he still has nightmares.

I like about graphic novels is how the pictures exceed their frames. For instance in this one the monster’s tongue leaves the first pane to drape over the second in one spot and free fall to the third in another. It gives the lingering feeling that the character is still feeling after seeing the monster. Hence he still has nightmares.

Jacob has grown to realize the stories his grandfather Abe told him as a kid were lies. He has grown somewhat apart from his grandfather in the interim years, but as we enter the story anew he is dropping in on his grandfather. Only he isn’t there, he has left the place in shambles and Jacob follows the path to find Abe dying. With his time winding down he leaves Jacob a peculiar riddle that he is unable to make sense of. Then he sees a monster and his world is turned upside down. He is forced to see a psychologist and through a series of events goes to the town where his grandfather was a kid.

Color_01While he is there he eventually hunts down the house where Abe lived before becoming a soldier in WWII. He is looking at the wreckage that is the house when all of a sudden, as readers, we see a hint of color again. This was all after chapter one so I had even forgotten that the beginning had any color at all. A small sign that perhaps the magic that Jacob believed in as a kid actually exists. Color_02The kids, realizing it’s Jacob and not Abe, run away. Jacob does his best to follow them but loses them. However, he continues to roam. After another series of events he finds them and finds himself in front of the house his grandfather had always described. The world is now, solidly, in color.

Contrast_02Jacob immerses himself in the world of his grandfather and (spoiler) realizes he is peculiar too. That’s why he could see the monster in the forest the day his grandfather died. As soon as he makes that connection he is shown blue like the other characters were when he first saw them. Fun little call back by the artist. It soon transpires that the peculiars are under attack, but if you want to know from what you’ll just have to read the book (or graphic novel) yourself.

Overlapping_01Juxtaposition_01Style-wise I enjoyed this spread. The artist took liberties, allowing the characters to interact even though in the story they are all ‘performing’ separately. In the flow of the left page, each girl being about the same perspective, works with the overlapping dynamic. Emma’s arms and fire lead you to the boulder Bronwyn is holding. Then Claire’s frame ‘overlaps’ the two to make sure you go left to see her before moving along to the next page. On the right page of the spread is a different composition. I will say it again: I love the juxtaposition in this book. With the contrast of size each character is treated in an equivalent manner even though they aren’t equal perspectives. If Hugh would have truly been back to back with Fiona his bees would have lost some of their impact. Likewise if Fiona would have been enlarged to the same size it wouldn’t have had the same effect. Then we have Jacob small at the bottom, perhaps speaking to how he is feeling when thrown into the world of the peculiar. This ‘show’ the peculiars are performing to show him what they can do happens before he puts the pieces together about himself.

Then we have this panel set. The dad goes from 0-10 on the anger scale in that matter of seconds:

Peregrins_01Peregrins_02Peregrins_03Peregrins_04

I think my favorite is the last panel. You can see that he is just so done. And then girl’s just chilling in the air all ‘hi’ and polite. Dad is not ready to handle your shenanigans kiddos.

That’s it. That’s my review. I liked the story and it was fun reading a picture book again. It’s been ages.

Until next time
~ Q

2015 Reading Challenge

  1. A book with more than 500 pages
  2. A classic romance
  3. A book that became a movie
  4. A book published this year
  5. A book with a number in the title
  6. A book written by someone under 30
  7. A book with nonhuman characters
  8. A funny book
  9. A book by a female author
  10. A mystery or a thriller
  11. A book with a one-word title
  12. A book of short stories
  13. A book set in a different country
  14. A nonfiction book
  15. A popular author’s first book
  16. A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet
  17. A book a friend recommended
  18. A Pulitzer Prize-winning book
  19. A book based on a true story
  20. A book at the bottom of your to-read list
  21. A book your mom loves
  22. A book that scares you
  23. A book more than 100 years old
  24. A book based entirely on it’s cover
  25. A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t
  26. A memoir
  27. A book you can finish in a day
  28. A book with antonyms in the title
  29. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
  30. A book that came out the year you were born
  31. A book with bad reviews
  32. A trilogy
  33. A book from your chlidhood
  34. A book with a love triangle
  35. A book set in the future
  36. A book set in high school
  37. A book with a color in the title
  38. A book that made you cry
  39. A book with magic
  40. A graphic novel: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
  41. A book by an author you’ve never read before
  42. A book that you own but have never read
  43. A book that takes place in your hometown
  44. A book that was originally written in a different language
  45. A book set during Christmas
  46. A book written by an author with your same initials
  47. A play
  48. A banned book
  49. A book based on or turned into a TV show
  50. A book you started but never finished
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Week Three of Summer

Although a bit late (which, for me, isn’t surprising) the third week of summer has come and gone! It was quite an eventful week indeed. My parents played host to my nephew which ended up taking some of my free time so I could spend time with everyone. With his visit I was able to incorporate some of my summer to do list!

One of the days of the past week I had Li’l squirt to myself and it was a jammed pack day. We started at McFarland Park walking along the paths, through the trees and along the pond. He exercised his imagination as he explained to me how we would retrieve the paper plate in the pond and then punish the person who had littered in the first place. Good to see the next generation taking such a keen interest in conservation.

BubblesWe went back to my place and began with coloring and lunch but quickly returned to the outdoors before the afternoon heat grew too great. We decided to blow bubbles on the porch and pop them. I had forgotten how fun it is to watch bubbles float in the breeze. As always, it is the little things in life. After awhile outside we made a quick stop at the playground before the beating sun drove us back home. That was fine with us, we decided to have a painting party.

Paint CanvasMy nephew, who is 3 1/2, did a phenomenal job at not getting paint everywhere. True, I put two special “paint shirts” on him (plastic grocery bags with holes cut in them for his arms and head) to help contain any messes. even then he didn’t get paint all over them either. It was one of those instances that the theory of painting was going to be fun but as soon as we started the reality of the situation I was worried. The worry was wasted though, because he did great and after all, it’s just paint.

PaintingThe rest of the day passed pleasantly. It was complete with more bubbles, another trip to the playground and some down time (made up of watching a movie while we calmly played with trucks). All in all a successful aunt-nephew day.

HaveBBQI was quite pleased when, later in week, my parents came to my place so I could grill for them. I was able to show the grill they got me for my birthday ‘in action’ and we all agreed it works quite well. Although it wont be the last time I use it this summer (and we didn’t have any BBQ) it was a great start to the BBQ/Grill season. Especially for a girl who isn’t the most knowledgeable about grilling….hence we had hotdogs.

After such a lot of family time during the week I spent about half the weekend alone working on my basement. We postponed most of our father’s day celebrations since my parents were delivering their grandchild back home on Sunday. I utilized my time and finished sanding, priming and first coating the bathroom. I also marathon listened to Mockingjay. It’s surprising how fast work time goes when you are off in another world.

Sketches_Week 3I continue to draw/sketch, often doing that instead of journaling. I’ll need to get back to writing too, but for now I’ll be sure to keep up this habit. I had forgotten how much fun it is to just doodle. To let go of the idea that, since I’m a designer, I should be creating works of art. I am not an artist (not that they can’t just doodle for fun too). Drawing (especially realistic drawing) has never been a strong suit. It’s been such a release to just enjoy the process and act of drawing and not worrying or caring what others think of the result. If people like it, that’s nice enough; if they hate it, that’s fair; if they couldn’t care less, they are not alone. I’m in it for the coloring.

Until next time
~Q

Summer Series: Intro | Week One | Week Two

Summer 2014

  1. Nap in a Hammock
  2. Have a Bonfire
  3. Play Sand Volleyball
  4. Visit an Iowa Winery
  5. Go to the Zoo
  6. Eat Sushi
  7. Go Stargazing
  8. Christmas in June
  9. Rainy Day Picnic
  10. Make a Summer Soundtrack
  11. Visit a Bed & Breakfast
  12. Ride a Carousel
  13. Go Camping
  14. Watch a Baseball Game
  15. Harry Potter Non-Stop Movie Marathon
  16. Radio Silence (no music, tv, computer or phone for 24 hours)
  17. Watch a Movie Outside
  18. Go Roller Blading
  19. Go to a Concert
  20. Go Wading
  21. Go Bowling
  22. Make Caramel Apples
  23. Meal Over a Fire
  24. Launch a Firecracker
  25. Urban Exploration
  26. Have a BBQ
  27. Make a Quilt
  28. Blow Bubbles on the Porch
  29. Play Bocce Ball
  30. Go People Watching
  31. Fill the Tank & Drive
  32. Make Wind Chimes
  33. Draw a Landscape
  34. Go Berry Picking
  35. Take a Weekend Trip Alone
  36. Paint a Canvas
  37. Do Yoga
  38. Make a Meal using only Farmer’s Market Food
  39. Spend the Afternoon on a Riverbank
  40. Watch a Sunrise
  41. Attend a Street Market
  42. Listen to Rock Music (from a different country)
  43. Picnic in the Park
  44. Start a Wish Tree
  45. See a Drive-In Movie
  46. Make Sangria
  47. Go for a Hike
  48. Go to a Fair
  49. Make a Banana Split
  50. Sketch Everyday
  51. Give to Others (donate old clothes to charity)

Art from the Archives: k+n ligature

I’ve been scanning through some of my old…what to call them…projects I suppose. Except these were things I did on my own time and done relatively quickly (in that I didn’t spend days perfecting the details.

Here is one such project. In school we did an official project where we had to create an ampersand using two different fonts that looked like it could belong in either font. (As well as making a type specimen poster and other items.) I really enjoyed the project because you had to find away to work within the rules of the font all the while breaking them to create something new.

In that same vein every now and then I experiment with that type of project. Here is a result of one day’s exploration. A ligature for when a k and a n are right by each other. I really wanted it to be exclusive to when the k is silent, so i guess that would make it more of it’s own letter. Like the che (ch) in Spanish, which i believe has been made obsolete and taken out of the alphabet, choosing instead to just us a c and an h. Anyway, this one only uses one font family, instead combining the rules of a k and n.

Until next time~Q