Marshmallow reviews Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Both Marshmallow and Caramel are keen readers of graphic novels and they have both reviewed a handful of them for this blog. In particular Marshmallow has reviewed two books by Raina Telgemeier in 2020; you can check out her reviews of Ghost (2016) and the graphic novel version of Ann N. Martin’s Kristy’s Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels #1) (2006). Today she decided to talk about another book by Telgemeier, the 2012 book Drama.

Marshmallow reviews Drama by Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow reviews Drama by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about school, or you like to think about theatre and plays and performances in school, or if you like graphic novels and have especially enjoyed books by Raina Telgemeier, like Ghosts, for example, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Seventh grader Callie is on the stage crew as set designer for this year’s production of Moon over Mississippi, with her best friend, Liz, who is in charge of the costumes. However, she is having issues with her friendships. Also, the school has a limited budget for the performance, so she is restricted in terms of the set pieces she can make. She wants to have a cannon for example, but their budget will allow for only two sets. 

Callie loves theater and she would try out, but she is unable to sing. However, she makes friends with a pair of twins, Jesse and Justin, one of whom, Justin, is trying out for the leading man. The other twin, Jesse, can sing but wants to give his brother a chance to shine. Unfortunately, when the results come out, Justin does not get the leading role. He gets one of the other roles, Colonel Scrimshaw; Justin is very disappointed. Also, Bonnie, a girl Callie does not like, gets the leading woman role. This creates some issues in terms of the cast and the stage crew. 

Also the cannon Callie wanted so much is not working out, as the confetti poppers they are using fails the first time. Callie has to deal with complicated sets, and complications in her social life. Can Callie get Moon over Mississippi up and running?

Marshmallow is reading Drama by Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow is reading Drama by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow’s Review: This book is written in a different way than is usual. The characters are actually in a play, themselves. The book is written as if we are seeing the scenes of the play; only in between them, we see the author and the audience. I thought it was interesting that the characters were creating a play, as they performed in one themselves, and it worked really well for me.

According to the Wikipedia article for it, Drama was the seventh most banned book of the 2010-2019 decade in the United States. This seems to be due to the fact that two of Callie’s good friends are gay and they are portrayed in a positive way, which some parents believe children should not be exposed to. However I thought the gay characters were portrayed just as all the others were, and things flowed naturally and realistically. Just like To Night Owl From Dogfish, which also had some gay characters without making the whole story about gender identity or sexual orientation (which might make things more contentious for some), Drama tells a good, compelling story about a bunch of middle schoolers, who are diverse in many ways, and is worth the read.

As the story is about middle school, Drama might be more appropriate for bunnies older than 9. Also there is some falling in love and having crushes stuff going on, and younger bunnies will most likely not find that too exciting.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates Drama by Raina Telgemeier 95%.
Marshmallow rates Drama by Raina Telgemeier 95%.

Marshmallow reviews Kristy’s Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels #1) by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier

Today Marshmallow reviews Kristy’s Great Idea, the first book in Ann M. Martin’s classic series, The Baby-Sitters Club, reimagined and rewritten as a graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow reviews Kristy's Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels #1) by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow reviews Kristy’s Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels #1) by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books or graphic novels about friendship, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary: When her mother is unable to find a babysitter for her younger brother, Kristy Thomas comes up with a great idea: The Baby-Sitters Club. She decides that she will start a babysitting business together with her best friends Mary Ann Spier and Claudia Kishi.

The girls decide to meet at Claudia’s house and they talk about what they will do. They decide that they will meet regularly in Claudia’s room because she has a phone that they can use for clients’ calls. Claudia tells Kristy and Mary Ann that she knows whom they should invite to be in the club. They should ask Stacey McGill to join them. Claudia tells them that Stacey just moved from New York and that she used to babysit there.  The rest of the girls meet Stacey in their next meeting and they decide that she can be in the club.

In the rest of the book the girls babysit multiple children and Kristy becomes closer to the children that might become her step-siblings. 

Marshmallow is reading Kristy's Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels #1) by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow is reading Kristy’s Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels #1) by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is a book about friendship. It is the first book of a very successful book series that was originally written in 1986 by Ann M. Martin, but was in 2006 made into a graphic novel, by Raina Telgemeier. 

Kristy’s Great Idea is a good book for people who enjoyed Raina Telgemeier’s other books (see my review of her book Ghosts here). The book is one hundred eighty pages, so younger readers might take a longer time reading it and might find it a little hard to read. I think that this book is probably best for ages seven and up. 

I think that my favorite character is Karen, one of the kids that might become Kristy’s stepsiblings. I think that she is funny because she thinks that her neighbor is a witch, and put a spell on their cat Boo Boo.

The characters are all well developed. They are also very different from each other. For example, Mary Anne is quiet and shy, while her best friend is a bit bossy and opinionated. Meanwhile, Claudia and Stacey are interested in fashion, but Claudia is a great artist (she is the one who draws the Baby-Sitters Club symbol), and Stacey is more into the styles that are popular. But they still are all great friends.

The book bunnies got into the Baby-Sitters Clubs series because of the new Netflix show The Baby-Sitters Club. Here is a trailer:

The Baby-Sitters Club trailer from YouTube.

There are a lot of differences between the Netflix show and the graphic novels. And I am guessing there are some differences between the original books and the graphic novels. But so far I have not yet read any of the originals. Maybe some day…

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates Kristy's Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels #1) by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier 95%.
Marshmallow rates Kristy’s Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels #1) by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier 95%.

Marshmallow reviews Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Marshmallow enjoys reading graphic novels now and then, and she has reviewed some of them for the book bunnies blog. See, for example, her reviews of Lucy and Andy Neanderthal and Lucy and Andy Neanderthal: Stone Cold Age by Jeffrey Brown, and her review of They Called Us Enemy by George Takei. This week she reviews one of her recent favorites: Ghosts, by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow reviews Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow reviews Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like graphic novels or if you enjoyed Raina Telgemeier’s other books, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers):  Cat’s sister, Maya, has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that makes it hard to breathe. Cat and her family move to a place called Bahiá de la Luna. Their parents think that Bahiá de la Luna will benefit Maya from the salty air, but unfortunately, Cat doesn’t like their new home. Still, since she wants her sister to get better, she tries to adapt.

One day their neighbor tells them that there are ghosts in the area. Cat doesn’t believe him but she soon learns that the neighbor was telling the truth. Maya is determined to meet a ghost and find out what dying is like.

“As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake – and her own.”

Marshmallow is reading Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.
Marshmallow is reading Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.

Marshmallow’s Review: This is an interesting book. The author, Raina Telgemeier, creates intriguing characters like Maya. Maya sometimes makes you think that she is not aware that she can die but then you realize that she realizes more than you think she does. Not only are the characters interesting, but the characters are also very relatable. Cat is someone you can relate to. Cat is infuriated when someone accidentally hurts Maya, and the drawings show her emotions very well. More generally the author does a great job drawing images that show the emotions of each character very clearly.

Cat is very protective of Maya. She is probably always very stressed because she keeps worrying that her sister Maya might die if she does something that she is not supposed to do.

My favorite character in Ghosts is Maya because she is so cheerful and she tries not to let her disease bring her down.

The setting, Bahiá de la Luna, is sort of creepy. As it says in the book, it has a “laid-back Halloween vibe”.  

This book displays a very different style of writing than Raina Telgemeier’s usual style. Her other books do not often deal with supernatural events.

This graphic novel is probably best for readers of ages eight to fifteen.

“Raina Telgemeier has masterfully created a moving and insightful story about the power of family and friendship, and how it gives the courage to do what we never thought possible.”

This quote on the back of the book describes the book in a nutshell. In this book you learn about Mexican traditions like an ofrenda, an altar for the dead, or The Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos). 

(Ghosts is dedicated to Sabrina Castello Collado, Raina’s cousin who died at age thirteen.)

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier 95%.
Marshmallow rates Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier 95%.