Babymouse and Squish

12 08 2012

Babymouse never fails to amuse me.  She’s a perfect cartoon character – based in reality, but with the right quirks to make her lovable.   Her imagination, and the world’s she creates in her mind, puts her in the same category of two of my favorite comic/graphic novel characters of all time: Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes and Amelia from Amelia Rules.  Squish, the only cartoon amoeba that I know of, is the hero of his own series, and he’s quickly becoming as good a character as Babymouse.

In Babymouse’s fifth book, Heartbreaker, it’s Valentine’s Day and the dance is coming up.  Babymouse tries to figure out who might ask her to the dance, escaping often into the pink fantasy worlds she creates in her head.  There’s a long list of boys that Babymouse finds interesting, and that adds to the fun.  In typical Babymouse fashion, every one of the potential suitors and the possibility of them asking her to the dance blows up in her face.

The sixth book, Camp Babymouse, is just as good.  In this one, Babymouse heads off to camp for the summer with visions of being the greatest scout of all time.  That doesn’t quite work in her favor, and in just about every competition between her cabin and the other kids, Babymouse finds a way to screw it up.  Typical, as Babymouse herself would say.

Squish #2, Brave New Pond, is all about our favorite single celled organism trying to turn over a new leaf at school – stop trading his lunches, be more assertive, and, of course, become popular.  Squish fails at almost all his goals initially, but suddenly things start looking up when a crowd of popular kids want to include him in their group.  Just like in real life, Squish is forced to make decisions between the respect of the cool kids or being loyal to the friends who’ve always been there for him.  I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say that the last few pages are very satisfying for any kid who’s ever been picked on or bullied at school.

The brother/sister team that writes and draws Babymouse and Squish is remarkable.  For them to come up with so many fun, original stories is incredible – there are now at 16 Babymouse and soon to be 4 Squish books in the last 7 years.  Jennifer L. Holm has been given the Newberry Honor award three times for her books Turtle in Paradise, Penny from Heaven, and Our Only May Amelia, so I can’t fathom how she has the time to write so many quality stories in so many different genres.  Her brother, Matthew Holm, who draws the comics, is also a graphic designer and writer – he’s also a pretty cool guy to follow on Twitter.

Babymouse 5 and 6 and Squish 2 were the 67th, 68th, and 69th books I’ve read this summer.  I’ve almost made it to my goal of 90 books in 90 days over break.  



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