2016 in [Book] Review Books Features It's Monday What Are You Reading Picture Books Reading Themes

[Monday Reading] When Graphic Novelists Turn Picturebook Creators: Cece Bell’s “Chuck and Woodchuck” and Vera Brosgol’s “Leave Me Alone”


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.


I was pleasantly delighted to note that two of the award-winning and highly-respected graphic novelists have turned their hands into creating fabulous picturebooks last year: the amazing Cece Bell (of El Deafo fame) and Vera Brosgol (known for her Anya’s Ghost). 

img_9628Chuck and Woodchuck

Written and Illustrated by: Cece Bell
Published by: Candlewick Press, 2016 ISBN: 0763675245 (ISBN13: 9780763675240)
Borrowed a copy from Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me. 

I didn’t realize how a first grade’s show-and-tell can ultimately be romantic and sweet and awww-inducing, but apparently it could.


Spoken in first-grader Caroline’s voice, she shared how she brought her grandfather’s ukulele from Hawaii during show-and-tell (doesn’t matter that she doesn’t know how to play it) – while another classmate named Chuck brought his pet named “Woodchuck” who stole the entire show that day, so much so that the teacher agreed to let him come to school every day.


It became gradually evident over the next several days how Woodchuck seems to especially favour Caroline, doing little things for her, ensuring that she doesn’t get cold when she plays outside, or giving her a cupcake when hers fall down during a party.


Yet, when she extends her gratitude to Woodchuck’s Chuck, he turns a beet red and would not say anything or just mumble incoherently! This would be a great book to pair with Peter McCarty’s Henry In Love or even Ingrid Chabbert and Raúl Nieto Guridi’s The Day I Became A Bird – it is a sweet reminder of childhood crushes and innocent romance.

Leave Me Alone!img_9622

Written and Illustrated byVera Brosgol
Published by: Roaring Brook Press, 2016 ISBN: 1626724415 (ISBN13: 9781626724419)
Borrowed a copy from Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me. 

This old woman who lived in a tiny house belonged to a large family of young kids who seem to be everywhere at all times.


Winter is coming and the old woman is hell-bent on completing her knitting for the young ones, but for some odd reason, she can’t seem to make any headway with her task. Eventually she became fed up with all the running around and the endless distractions, that she packed up her bags with all her wool and knitting needles and yelled:


Yet everywhere she goes, be it in the forest or in caves in mountain sides, the grizzly bears and the mountain goats seemed singularly determined to disturb her concentration, even the aliens in outer space were not much help:


When she finally stepped into a wormhole and found absolute quiet and finished all her knitting and drank her tea from the samovar, she realized one important thing:


How the story ends, I shall leave for you to discover. Suffice it to say both graphic novelists I felt introduced something profoundly interesting to the picturebook genre, be they text-bubbles or rounded panels – and I am immensely happy to see more of these crossover of genres happening in children’s literature. Two 2016 picturebooks that should definitely be added to your libraries.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

13 comments on “[Monday Reading] When Graphic Novelists Turn Picturebook Creators: Cece Bell’s “Chuck and Woodchuck” and Vera Brosgol’s “Leave Me Alone”

  1. I was about to order Leave Me Alone for my library when I ran out of funds for the year. It looks great, I hope my public library gets it. Thanks for the post!


  2. Love Leave Me Alone!Hoping to get a copy for my classroom library.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love Leave Me Alone! And now I must find Chuck & Woodchuck. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I checked out Vera Brosgol’s Anya’s Ghost after reading Leave Me Alone. I loved the picture book, will be interesting to read the graphic novel.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Leave Me Alone makes for a hilarious read aloud – both fourth and seventh graders enjoyed it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Chuck and Woodchuck looks darling. I taught first grade in my earliest teaching, and there is love in the air at that age, too! Still need to read Leave Me Alone, maybe someday! Thanks Myra. I love those graphic novels!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t had a chance to read either of these, though I’ve heard so much about them! I really enjoyed Anya’s Ghost, so I’m very excited for Leave Me Alone!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Leave Me Alone reminds me of me…I shall have to get this book to discover my fate, Myra!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for telling us about these two texts – Leave Me Alone looks like a great book to add to our collection of traditional tales.


  10. Oh Myra! Thanks for showing us these gorgeous illustrations. I’m now almost desperate to read Leave Me Alone. Sometimes I feel like this.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Fun! I miss reading picture books with my girls who are now 12 and 9.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I really enjoy both of these authors, but I haven’t read either of these picture books yet.
    Happy reading this week 🙂


  13. These both sound great!


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