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Babymouse: Dragonslayer
Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Random House, 96 pages

Babymouse: Dragonslayer
Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Jennifer L. Holm, made her mark with historical children's fiction set in the Northwest -- books like the Boston Jane series and Our Only May Amelia, a 2000 Newbery Honor-winner. Se work on the Babymouse series along with her brother Matthew, who draws the funny series about a girl-mouse drama queen with tragically curly whiskers and a thing for pink hearts.

Jennifer L. Holm Website
Matthew Holm Website
ISFDB Bibliography: Jennifer L. Holm
ISFDB Bibliography: Matthew Holm

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Charlene Brusso

"In a distant kingdom... a growing darkness falls over the land." What red-blooded fantasy reader wouldn't be compelled by those words to keep reading?

Babymouse (yes, she's a mouse; the other characters are animals, too, but far from Disney-fied) is an engaging kid with big dreams that tend to carry her away at the most inopportune times (like, say, during a math test). Then there's her school, with all its low-level "Lord of the Flies" annoyances, from pop quizzes and bad cafeteria food to getting snubbed by the obnoxious popular kids. Babymouse also has to contend with an off-screen narrator who never slacks off when it comes to pointing out her mistakes -- usually in the most sarcastic tone possible.

Dragonslayer sees Babymouse off on an epic journey of fantastical proportions. Because she's having trouble in math, her teacher decides she could use some extra practice -- by joining the school's Mathletes team, the "Fighting Fractions." The team is preparing for a regional competition where they must once again face their dreaded enemies, the terrifyingly Slytherin-like Owlgorithms, and attempt to win back the Golden Slide Rule.

Could Babymouse be the One described in the ancient prophecy: "a gifted one with a true heart, who will lead the Fighting Fractions to glory and restore the Golden Slide Rule to its rightful home"? The panel view of Babymouse with her eyes glazed over from too many equations makes this appear unlikely. But as every fantasy reader knows, one should never discount the magical underdog, especially when backed up by the Fellowship of the Slide Rule.

Number 11 in the Babymouse series of graphic novels pays homage to some of the most beloved fantasy classics in the field, from C.S. Lewis's The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series to, of course, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. True, the book, with its striking black, white, and pink graphics, is technically for younger readers, say ages 6-10, feel free to read it once or even twice before you gift it to your kid, your niece or nephew, your kid's friend -- or just keep it for yourself. I won't tell.

Copyright © 2010 Charlene Brusso

Charlene's sixth grade teacher told her she would burn her eyes out before she was 30 if she kept reading and writing so much. Fortunately he was wrong. Her work has also appeared in Aboriginal SF, Amazing Stories, Dark Regions, MZB's Fantasy Magazine, and other genre magazines.

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