Saturday, August 18, 2012

diane recommends Bird & Squirrel on the Run! by James Burks, and Cardboard by Doug TenNapel

I decided--after a long time of staring at them--to pick up these two graphic novels: Bird & Squirrel on the Run! by: James Burks, and Cardboard by: Doug TenNapel.  I was very surprised to see that they mostly have the same general plot: an irritating person ruins things, they go through a huge adventure together, and then they become friends.   Bird & Squirrel on the Run! is for younger kids, and Cardboard is for older kids, and both books keep you captivated the whole time.  They both have plenty of humor, and they both keep you on your toes, never knowing what is going to happen next.

Bird & Squirrel on the Run! starts with an over-zealous bird flying around on a beautiful fall day.  Bird runs into a panicky squirrel.  Squirrel is annoyed at Bird because he is busy focusing on survival, gathering more, more, and even more nuts.  In a turn of events, Squirrel looses all of his nuts, and ends up going on a road trip with this crazy bird.  This is scary enough for Squirrel without a daunting cat coming and trying to crash the party.  Throughout their adventure, Bird and Squirrel become best friends.

I love the way James Burks captures the emotion on Squirrel’s face as a scary adventure turns into a life-threatening adventure.  Bird & Squirrel on the Run! has turns around every corner and just enough humor to keep the story running.  This is a really fun, short read, and the art keeps your eyes drawn to the story.  Bird can be a little annoying at times, but throughout the whole story, he is the one keeping things optimistic, and you couldn’t have the book without him.

Cardboard is about a boy whose life is a disaster.  His mother is dead, and he is left with a dad, who can’t find a job, and can’t move on in life.  For Cam’s birthday, his dad buys him a cardboard box.  They make a boxer out of it, and it comes to life.  Marcus--the neighborhood freak--gets his hands on the cardboard, and makes the monsters from his imagination.  The monsters get out of control, and in the end, Cam comes to understand Marcus, and even becomes friends with him.

My favorite part in the book was when Cam made a “little dad” out of cardboard.  The dad discovers it, and the “little dad” says, “Hey! It’s a big fat me!”  Throughout the entire book, the “little dad” keeps saying odd things that make you laugh.   The characters are all really likeable, and funny.  This book can get a little scary at times, but always has funny parts to lighten it up.

Bird & Squirrel on the Run!
by James Burks
published by GRAPHIX
August 2012
Recommended for 5-8 year old readers

by Doug TenNapel
published by  GRAPHIX
August 2012
Recommended for 8-12 year old readers


  1. Great reviews! Thanks for the insights!

  2. I'm going to have to read Cardboard, I think -- it keeps getting really good reviews, and it's starting to make me curious.

  3. Cardboard has such an interesting premise, and I'm with Diane, I love the "little dad".