February 12, 2007
Just in time for Valentine's Day, I bring you a review of Babymouse: Heartbreaker, the fifth title in Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm's Babymouse series of graphic novels. Babymouse is an indomitable girl mouse who attends school (apparently early middle school) with a variety of other animals and has an adoring younger brother at home. Babymouse also has a rich fantasy life and a wry sense of humor. She has contentious relationships with the monster in her locker and with the narrator of her stories.
As this installment begins, Valentine's Day is approaching. Babymouse dreams of romance - flowers and candy and cupcakes and "cute heart outfits". When she learns that her school will be having a Valentine's Day dance, she puts all of her optimism and energy into getting a date. The results, sad to say, are less than impressive.
Even in her own fantasies, Babymouse is the kind of girl who falls when running down the steps of the palace at midnight and, bruised and battered, mutters "Typical". She kisses a frog, and he turns into ... a snake. She tries to become more feminine, with make-up and freshly curled whiskers, and she looks ridiculous. Even her own "mirror mirror on the wall" laughs at her.
Babymouse has to watch all of the other girls get dates, while there is, apparently, no one for her. But the thing about Babymouse, the thing that makes her stories so worth buying for all of the 7 to 10 year old girls in your life, is that she never quits. And in the end, she triumphs.
As in the other books, the illustrations (all pink and white and black) are hilarious. My favorite from this one is after Babymouse has her makeover. There's a random picture of space creatures, in a spaceship, watching video from earth. And one of them is lying on his back, feet high in the air. The caption is "I don't know, Commander - he was looking at something on Earth and he just fell over." And you see a tiny picture of Babymouse, on the viewscreen, looking dejected. It's priceless! There's also an amusing riff on the movie Dirty Dancing (I'll bet if you think about it for a minute, you can guess).
Underneath the over-the-top graphic novel format, Babymouse: Heartbreaker tackles issues that every girl can relate to. Who hasn't wanted to be invited to a school dance, but not been asked? Who hasn't daydreamed about receiving flowers, cards and chocolates, but gone home empty-handed? But Babymouse doesn't give up, and neither will her readers. This installment of the series is a must-read for Babymouse fans. And if you know any young girls out there who aren't familiar with Babymouse, I ask you to think seriously about introducing her to them. Happy Valentine's Day!
Book: Babymouse: Heartbreaker
Author: Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Publisher: Random House
Original Publication Date: December 26, 2006
Age Range: 7-11
Source of Book: Review copy from the authors. (Full disclosure, they also sent me a stuffed toy Babymouse - you can see a picture if you scroll back a couple of days.)
Other Blog Reviews: A review by A Fuse #8 Production and a mention at Big A little a. Updated to add: Kelly also reviewed this book today at Big A little a.
Please also note that Babymouse: Beach Babe is a Cybils shortlist title for Graphic Novels, Age 12 and Under. See my review of Babymouse: Beach Babe here.
© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.