- Age Range: 10 - 14 years
- Grade Level: 5 - 9
- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (June 17, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1416935878
- ISBN-13: 978-1416935872
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 34 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Chiggers Paperback – June 17, 2008
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"Chiggers is a fresh, honest, and sweetly touching story drawn by a master artist. Kudos!" -- Jennifer L. Holm, Newbery Honor Award-winning author of Penny from Heaven and Our Only May Amelia, and co-creator of Babymouse
"Hope Larson shows off the deft storytelling and inventive layouts that made her a web-comics sensation." -- Gene Yang, Michael L. Printz Award-winning creator of American Born Chinese
About the Author
Hope Larson is the author of Who Is AC? and the author-illustrator of Mercury, Chiggers, Gray Horses, and Salamander Dream, which Publishers Weekly named one of 2005's best comics. She won a 2007 Eisner Award, the highest honor for a comic artist. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles. You can visit her at HopeLarson.com.
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We're grateful to Hope Larson for writing (and drawing) directly to our daughter in a way that she could readily experience and embrace her work, and for inspiring enthusiasm in her about reading. And we're grateful to A Parent's Guide to the Best Kids' Comics: Choosing Titles Your Children Will Love for recommending her work.
Perhaps those who are not as interested in the deeper visual aspects of life will fail to notice the emotive content that lies within Chiggers' pages. But those who are in tune to the richness of content that graphic story telling offers are in for a treat. You can tell nervousness in brush strokes, and feel the characters' emotions visually as they are upset or angry.
I have read some reviewers' problems with recognizing the characters, but I could tell each one apart. Perhaps a characters page in future printings could easily rectify this? I find them useful, even in extremely easy cases.
One day, I will gladly hand "Chiggers" to my future children, and help them learn the richness of graphic storytelling. Until then, I will happily enjoy the book myself, even being far outside the target demographic.
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. 96-98).
- The notion that a piece of lightning is still in Shasta, like a splinter, waiting to come out (p. 153).
There's an age where kids will find this book "too juvenile." I think the 10-14 year olds will find it of particular interest. And I sense that more girls than boys will find it interesting.
By the way, as someone who once had over one hundred chigger bites below the belt, I guarantee you that it would make camp very, very uncomfortable.
Who knows? You may use the "chiggers defense" someday!