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Chiggers Paperback – June 17, 2008
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From School Library Journal
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Top Customer Reviews
Hope Larson is an amazing visual storyteller. Her soft drawings are often wispy like ocean waves, pulling the reader in their current. The panels are full of side notes, pointing out details that might otherwise be missed or giving further explanation to pieces of the overall narrative. In this way, Larson not only creates within her young readers an excitement of discovering all that the world has to offer, but also in the comic book form as a medium for said discovery. It opens up the reading experience to be about more than just the people who are at a book's center, but the naturalistic world they inhabit.
Chiggers, by Hope Larson, falls in that category, with a young adult focus.
Abby goes to summer camp, again. Her older friend is too busy for her (now an employee of the camp), her bunkmates talk behind everyone's backs, and the new girl, Shasta, is full of... stories? Hit by lightning? Has a long-distance internet boyfriend? Has "problems" getting oxygen to her cells?
Abby finds herself torn between wanting to fit in, having adventures, avoiding nerds, meeting boy nerds, and more. She is a "tween," sensing that she has the spirit of the child, but the social needs of the teen.
Hope Larson's sketches are wonderfully suited for the text. She is a master at the "dramatic pause" with the correct sketch. Highlights include:
- Two girls salivating over a mental image of rocker Ricky Vee without his shirt (p. 14).
- Egyptian Rat Screw card game instructions (p. 16)! I know this game as "Egyptian Rat Killer," adding the rule that you can slap on the play of any 10 card. No jewelry wearing allowed. Play it once, and you'll know what I mean.
- Chigger description (p. 24). However, they really don't burrow under your skin. The intense itching is your allergic reaction to their saliva.
- The reaction of Shasta to the idea of a home without a computer (p. 43).
- Instructions for making a friendship bracelet (p. 57).
- Discussion of chicken parts sandwiches and jell-o from horse hooves (p.65).
- Total bliss then profound sadness in the shower (p.Read more ›
Maybe it's because I haven't read enough graphic novels, but at times I found it hard to tell the characters apart using the pictures. Two of the campers looked a great deal alike to me, and I kept having to go back and figure out who was who. I also found myself wanting a little more depth of story than this format allows. But in general, I really enjoyed this read. I liked the things you CAN do in a graphic novel you can't do as easily in regular books, like break out and give illustrated instructions for making a friendship bracelet or include small details in pictures that advance the story if you notice them.
There was a good deal of character depth to Abby for a short book---I felt I understood her and she was very realistically drawn---literally and figuratively.
I'm going to give this book to an avid 10 year old reader I know who hasn't really read graphic novels either, and I think she will be pleasantly surprised by it!
I love that Larson never explains the stranger moments of the book, from the sparks of electricity flowing out of Shasta's hair one night, to the dramatic conclusion of the book and its unreal happenings. A dream, a natural phenomenon, or something entirely different? It's not entirely clear, and Larson wisely doesn't delve too deeply into it. All you really need to know is that it happened, and move onwards.
The way Larson draws the book is great as well. There's something about the way her characters have deep eyes and heavy locks of hair that makes it unmistakably Larson's creation. She's got such a handle on expressions that her characters can bring so much to the story without actually needing their dialogue. From Abby's awe-filled smile as she finds out that Shasta knows her boyfriend through IMs, to Shasta's almost tranquil expression as her hair floats up into the air, it's a beautiful creation.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My 12-year old daughter was recently diagnosed with ADD and a learning disability. It seems she lacks a visual memory -- her comprehension (listening and reading) suffers because... Read morePublished on May 30, 2012 by Darockb
Chiggers is a tale that takes place at a summer camp. Abby, the focus of the story, is a naive, dorky kind of girl who secretly reads fantasy novels and likes to pretend that she's... Read morePublished on January 12, 2012 by Liz W.
Abby's come back for yet another summer at camp and looking forward to spending time with her friend Rose... Read morePublished on July 1, 2011 by Andy Shuping
This is the second of Hope Larson's books I have read. The first was her most recent, Mercury, and it blew me away. This, one of her most popular, did also. Read morePublished on June 2, 2010 by Steven R. McEvoy
Written and Illustrated by Hope Larson
Comic book artist Hope Larson (creator... Read more
Let it be known that I never went to summer camp as a kid. Family historians disagree over the root cause of this. I am under the impression that it was never an option. Read morePublished on October 26, 2008 by E. R. Bird
Hope Larson's CHIGGERS tells of Abby, who is back at the same summer camp, though everything is different. Read morePublished on October 11, 2008 by Midwest Book Review
Hope Larson takes the cliche "a picture is worth 1,000 words" and brings it to stunning life in "Chiggers. Read morePublished on September 9, 2008 by Jamie Maldonado
As if though some magic, Hope Larson has managed to transmute memory and nostalgia into a solid, hand-held item; not only her memory and her since of nostalgia but the very... Read morePublished on September 3, 2008 by Eddie Perkins