New York : Scholastic, 2009
Come get pulled into a dark world of mechanized evil, a comic book hell that is all too real for those kids who dare to escape the deadly monotony of daily life. Told both in words and comic-style pictures, this first tale in a new series just jumps off the page. (Michael Sullivan, Author and Children's Literature Expert, Tales Told Tall)
Seth and Kady sit with Luke as he does the "Tall Jake" ritual: some hair from a cat, a tear (don't ask how he got that) and several other things that are put in a pot and burned while you say 5 times, "Tall Jake, come take me away." [Note: just imagine what a good booktalk this is. With voices as if you were involved in this!] And then nothing happens. Luke does this just to show his friends how silly it is, even though it is in the comic book he shows them. Then the next day he disappears. His friends know in their hearts what has happened. They look for the comic book, but is perfectly blank. [Prop idea: music please!] They even break into the comic book store to find the next issue, to redo the ritual, to get into this place called "Malice." At this point the book becomes a comic/graphic novel. [Prop note: have some blown up pages to show the students.] This is a horrid world that is half horror, half steam punk. Interspersed graphic novel and prose, this is a great read--and of course the sequel is out, with the next in the series coming soon!
(Booktalk by Mary Jo Heller, school librarian emeritus) (Washington Evergreen YA Book Award)
[This works as an impromptu reader's theater. Print out three copies of the script below. Highlight Jake & Heather's lines in different colors: yellow for Heather, blue for Jake, etc. Leave the narrator's lines un-highlighted: these will be yours. Ask for two volunteers.]
Narrator: There were once two kids named Heather and Luke. Luke had found a comic book. It was kind of a famous comic book; if you knew the stories about it. [Show the copy of Malice and hand it to Luke.]
Luke: "Hey, I have to show you something."
Heather: "What is it?"
Luke: "Are you scared of a little book? Come on Heather--get real! It's not like the rumors are real. Look. I'll prove it."
Heather: "Luke, don't! He's gonna--"
Luke: "Chill, Heather. It's just a myth. See: here's the feather; the twig; the cat fur, the tear drop, and the lock of hair."
Heather: "Luke. Are...are you sure?!"
Luke: "It's just a story. A rumor. Watch me; I'll say the chant and nothing will happen. Tall Jake take me away. Tall Jake take me away. Tall Jake take me away. Tall Jake take me away. TALL JAKE TAKE ME AWAY!"
Narrator: That's the last anyone saw of either Jake or Heather for a long, long time. So, Dear Readers. Do you think you have the courage to come into tall Jake's world? Are you ready to sacrifice your life in his realm? Are you ready to give up everything you have for ... [Hold up the novel] ... Malice? You'll never know unless you try. Like Luke. Or Heather. It's not going to be tall Jake's fault, if you decide to test your luck, test your wits against him.
Heather: Tall Jake take me away!
Luke: Tall Jake take me away!
Narrator: He'll be waiting for you...
(Booktalk by Kirsten Edwards, King County Library System) (Washington Evergreen YA Book Award)
Cartoons and comics -- Fiction.