Friday, July 20, 2007

Kilala Princess and Peach Fuzz

This week the girls chose two titles from Tokyopop.

Kilala Princess Volumes 1 & 2 by Rika Tanaka and Nao Kodaka (Tokyopop)

I’ve never been much of a princess kind of gal, and the sweetness here makes me gag a little, so I confess that I rushed through these two volumes. On the plus side, the story is straight-forward and fairly easy to follow and makes good use of the various Disney characters – I kind of enjoyed the appearance of Snow White’s Wicked Queen. It is a little freaky to see the Disney Princesses pop up in the middle of a story about ultra-pretty manga characters, though. I’m not sure who the intended audience is for this – little American girls who still love the Princesses might have trouble reading “backwards.” The translations are a bit awkward and every speech bubble seems to contain fewer than ten words, but the drawings are very pretty and the Princesses look just like they should…except when they have no eyes. What’s up with that – is that a manga thing? There are also some really odd empty spaces which they have filled with portraits of characters having no relation to the story – I’m guessing maybe those spaces had advertisements in the original Japanese version.

There’s nothing here to keep these books out of classrooms or libraries – it’s all pretty innocent. Kilala kisses a boy, but it’s only because she thinks it will wake him, like in Sleeping Beauty or Snow White. There are the usual non-feminist messages about finding your Prince Charming, but there are also messages about kindness, courage, and teamwork. There is a little bit of fighting, but most of it is obscured by sound effects in Japanese. Recommended for little girls who love the Disney Princesses and for adults suffering from Disneymania.

Shelby says: Kilala Princess is about a girl named Kilala who is the biggest princess fan ever! Her best friend, Erica, turns out to become the school’s princess. Some men take her away and tie her up in the back of a black car. So Kilala ends up having to save her. She finds a gate which leads her to a forest where Snow White is living. There’s a boy she meets who has a sacred tiara. They and Snow White look for Erica and use the tiara to help them. The art is very manga. Sometimes it’s really realistic, and other times it’s really, really cartoony. This is a “backwards book” because it’s in Japanese style so sometimes it didn’t’ make sense because I forgot how to read it. This series is definitely for little girls who love princesses. The way it’s written and translated isn’t exactly the best it could be (sometimes it doesn’t make sense and sometimes it’s melodramatic) but little girls won’t care. . WARNING: THIS IS NOT FOR BOYS, TEENAGERS, ADULTS, OR ANYONE WHO CANNOT STAND PRINCESSES.

Sarah says: I sort of, kind of liked Kilala Princess. It’s about a girl named Kilala who is trying to save her friend. She meets two guys who help her and she also has Disney Princesses who help her. There’s some love stuff in it between Rei, one of the guys, and Kilala. It’s kind of gross. I feel the story is a little bit better then what I first thought it would be. It’s kind of cheesy in some parts, but I enjoy reading it and I’m looking forward to the next one. I think the next book will be interesting because they might turn into mermaids or something because they’re going to visit Ariel. It’s something a small child could read because there’s not that many words. It’s for young girls who like princesses, or girls like me who partly like them.

Peach Fuzz Volumes 1 & 2 by Lindsay Cibos and Jared Hodges (Tokyopop)

Peach Fuzz was the grand prize winner in Tokyopop’s Rising Stars of Manga competition. The story of a girl and her pet ferret, it’s told not only from nine-year-old Amanda’s point of view, but also through Peach the ferret’s eyes. The Peach segments are pretty darn funny – she thinks she’s a princess and acts like a complete diva. It’s nice to see an animal anthropomorphized as something other than an innocent widdle cweature. Peach Fuzz is very well-written and executed and it’s not just for young girls – I laughed quite a bit.

A note of caution for parents and teachers: Amanda is not the best pet owner in the world and often unwittingly mistreats Peach. I would recommend reading these books with younger children and following up with some discussion on responsible pet ownership. The second volume is more involved in Amanda’s school social life and popularity and includes a scene in which one of the “bad boys” pulls out a knife to kill a snake and gets taken directly to the principal. Overall Peach Fuzz is library and school safe and recommended for ages 8 and up.

Shelby says: Peach Fuzz is about a nine-year-old girl named Amanda who wanted to get a pet, so her mom takes her to the pet shop. She looks around and finds a ferret cage. All of them bite her but there’s one that doesn’t, but only because it’s sleeping. While Amanda is taking it home, it wakes up and thinks she is a princess who was taken away by a vicious “handra” (which is really a human hand). The entire book is about Amanda trying to be popular because of her ferret, while the ferret, which is named Peach, acts dramatic about the handra. You read this book forwards just like a regular comic. The art is very manga style. The people are drawn cartoony, but the shading looks realistic. It’s different from other stories because the animals have a real personality, like a person, but they’re not all innocent – they’re vicious sometimes. It’s funny sometimes because Peach thinks the girl’s toys can be her minions. This book is probably only for girls in elementary school because the girls in the story are trying to be popular but they’re still all into princesses and ponies and stuff. Amanda reminds me of my sister because she’s very emotional. You should really consider this book for young, animal-loving girls.

Sarah says: Peach Fuzz is so cool. My favorite thing is that they tell part of it from the ferret’s point of view. The ferret, Peach, is very hysterical because she thinks she’s a beautiful princess of Ferret Land, which is a cage in the pet store. The other part of the story is about a young girl named Amanda who gets Peach for a pet. She’s not as nice to Peach as she should be, but she loves her. In the second book Amanda’s friend gets a boy ferret named Pavaratty. They want Peach and Pavaratty to fall in love, but they really hate each other. Pavaratty is a stuck-up ferret that was bought on Ebay. Peach thinks that human hands are “handras,” a five-headed monster, while Pavaratty thinks they are “handlers” who look like gloves. He thinks he is a superstar singer/actor/dancer – he even has a toy microphone. I like the art because it really shows how people feel – it makes you know what their personalities are. I’m really looking forward to the third book because it says that Amanda’s friend gets some ferrets and “Peach gets the surprise of her life!” If boys read it, then they should know not to be like Tim and Phil because they are evil to Amanda and everybody else. Peach Fuzz is awesome!


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