Cleopatra in Space

  • Cleopatra in Space, Book 1: Target Practice
  • written and illustrated by Mike Maihack
  • published by Graphix (Scholastic)
  • Roar Score: 5/5

If the title doesn’t grab your attention, you might want to check your pulse. And if the cover doesn’t totally captivate you, then you might seriously be dead. Consult your physician.

This is a book that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I was overjoyed when I heard that Scholastic had decided to publish it and give it a treatment that the story and art deserve. Cleopatra in Space is the creation of the awesomely amazing artist Mike Maihack — an artist we love so much in our house that I might border on hyperbole here. Apologies.

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Captain Action Cat

  • Captain Action Cat #1: The Timestream CATastrophe!
  • written and illustrated by Art Baltazar
  • written by Franco & Chris “Zod” Smits
  • published by Dynamite Comics
  • Roar Score: 4/5

I’ll admit it. We’ll buy pretty much anything by the Aw Yeah! guys. Super-Pets, Tiny Titans, Superman Family Adventures, even Battlestar Galactica(!). Art and Franco can do no wrong in my house.

So when we saw Captain Action Cat beckoning to us from the slew of new comics this week, we had to have it. And it doesn’t disappoint.

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Star Wars #5 (Marvel)

Issue #5 (November 1977): Lo, The Moons of Yavin!

  • Writer/Editor: Roy Thomas
  • Illustrators: Howard Chaykin & Steve Leialoha

Moving toward the conclusion of the movie. Before diving in, we’ve got another doozy of a cover. Talk about your misdirection! This is what I love about old comics like these. What you see on the cover was almost never what you found inside. I mean, c’mon, the Death Star is right there! It’s not in orbit; by all rights, it should be crashing into the planet at this point. But, oh no! Look out! It knocked over a wall with that laser beam!

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Ella

(previously in this series: Hubert’s Hair-Raising Adventure)

Continuing our journey through the career of Bill Peet, we pick up Ella (1964) this week. I had originally wanted to do the books in chronological order, but (1) I don’t own all of them, especially since a few are long out of print and very difficult/pricey to obtain; and (2) I can’t seem to find a definitive bibliography of his books in order of publication. If anyone has one, please send it my way. In the meantime, I’ll do the best I can.

Ella is the story of a circus elephant who is bit of a prima donna.

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The Big Wet Balloon

  • The Big Wet Balloon
  • written and illustrated by Liniers (Ricardo Liniers Siri)
  • published by Toon Books (Candlewick Press)
  • Roar Score: 5/5

It seems appropriate to feature this book today, as it was just recognized in a BIG way with an Eisner Award nomination for Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 7). The publisher, Toon Books, must be conflicted since three of the five nominees in this category are their books! (The other two are Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas by Philippe Coudray and Otto’s Backwards Day by Frank Cammuso. We have the latter and can attest to its awesomeness.)

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Ms. Marvel

Why I read Ms. Marvel to my 5-year-old daughter

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I don’t know who I’m supposed to be. . . . I want to be beautiful and awesome and butt-kicking and less complicated.” —Kamala Khan

When I picked up the first two issues of the new run of Ms. Marvel, they were in a stack of “kid stuff” for my daughter. I think we also had a Super-Pets book and a Scooby-Doo comic in there. The cashier made a point to ask if these two were for me (and not, presumably, for my daughter who was beside me). After a hesitant “yes?” on my part, he simply said, “good.”

I took another look at the covers. Rated T+. I hadn’t noticed anything really offensive during my initial flip through either. Maybe I missed something? After we got home, I read both and instantly fell in love. And, nope, I hadn’t missed anything offensive. I’m assuming they’re rated T+ for some drug and alcohol references. I don’t think ratings are given based on cultural references.

At this point, there’s really nothing I can say about the new Ms. Marvel or Kamala Khan that hasn’t been said (better) elsewhere. This is not meant to be a synopsis or review of the books. This is an explanation for why I think this might be the perfect character for my 5-year-old daughter.

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Lumberjanes

  • Lumberjanes #1 (April 2014)
  • written by Noelle Stevenson & Grace Ellis
  • illustrated by Brooke Allen
  • colors by Maarta Laiho
  • letters by Aubrey Aiese
  • published by Boom! Studios (Boom! Box)
  • Roar Score: 4/5

What the junk? This one came out of nowhere for me. I hadn’t heard much about it, and then Twitter sort of erupted into a bunch of people talking about plaid shirts and shouting “Lumberjanes!” So of course I had to go check it out.

So what do we have? An all-ages comics about five female friends at camp fighting three-eyed foxes and dealing with a bearwoman? Yes, please. The issue doesn’t waste any time with unnecessary exposition. It jumps right into the middle of the story. At first, I felt like maybe we had missed an issue #0 or something, but within a few pages, all becomes clear. What’s left unclear is supposed to be unclear.

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5 Questions with Alan Muraoka

Welcome to the first in a series of Roarbots interviews…with a twist. We’re calling it 5 Questions with a 5-Year-Old. The idea is that Zoey will sit down with various people she’s identified (or who are linked to interests she’s identified) and ask them five simple questions she wants to know the answers to.

She comes up with all the questions. Seriously. I may help her “refine” some of them, but she comes up with each on her own. Don’t worry; I’m not surreptitiously interviewing anyone through my 5-year-old daughter.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Alan Muraoka as her first interviewee. Alan is perhaps most famous for his role on Sesame Street where he’s been the owner of Hooper’s Store since 1998. Zoey was absolutely thrilled to learn that “Alan” on Sesame Street is also named Alan in real life!

Zoey couldn’t have been more excited. And as it turns out, Alan Muraoka is every bit as friendly, charming, and approachable (not to mention patient) as his on-screen persona.

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Lego 41051: Merida’s Highland Games

Lego 41051: Merida’s Highland Games / Disney Princess

Another entry in the Disney Princess line. I had thought this was Zoey’s “least desired” in the line, but she came home from the store with it in hand the other day (after finding some cash on the ground!).

Specs: 145 pieces (11 extras, including a cute little cookie and a cool key); 2 bags (+ 8×16 green base); 1 sticker sheet; 57 steps over 55 pages (2 books); took the 5yo Roarbot about an hour to put everything together

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Once on This Island

Once on This Island

Last night (Thursday, April 10), Zoey and I attended a preview performance of Once on This Island at the Olney Theatre Center – a fantastic local theatre in Olney, MD, that puts on some amazing performances.

As long-time, regular supporters (and fans!) of Adventure Theatre in Glen Echo and Imagination Stage in Bethesda, we’re always looking for great kid-friendly theatre in the area. Once on This Island is part of Olney’s Family Series, so we decided to give it a shot.

Boy, are we glad we did. The performance we saw was a rehearsal and only the second performance in front of an audience, but it still felt incredibly polished. The house was only about half full, so we can only hope that will change once the show officially opens this weekend.

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