Six graphic novel covers in a collage with a black background: Johnny Boo and the Ice Cream Computer, Anya's Ghost, Nightlights, Ghostopolis, Tiger vs. Nightmare, and The Mighty Skullboy Army.

TBR Friday: Eisners Edition

Happy Friday, kids! With the recent announcement of this year’s Eisner nominees, I wanted to feature some titles off my TBR that have received this coveted comic book award nomination. I picked up a couple of these from the library just yesterday, so hopefully I’ll be able to post those reviews for you soon!

Tiger vs. Nightmare by Emily Tetri (nominated 2019 for Best Publication for Early Readers)

A small tiger stands at the foot of a bed, holding up her fists in a defensive position with a determined look on her face. Text: "Tiger vs. Nightmare. Emily Tetri."

Tiger is a lucky kid: She has a monster living under her bed.

This monster arrived when Tiger was just a baby. It was supposed to scare her — after all, that’s what monsters do. But Tiger was just too cute! Now, Tiger and Monster are best friends.

But Monster is a monster, and it needs to scare something. So every night, Monster stands guard and scares all of Tiger’s nightmares away. This arrangement works out perfectly, until a nightmare arrives that’s too big and scary for even Monster. Only teamwork and a lot of bravery can chase this nightmare away.

I can’t even handle how adorable this sounds. This seems like a book you just want to hug. Plus, that watercolor artwork is so lovely.

Johnny Boo and the Ice Cream Computer by James Kochalka (nominated 2019 for Best Publication for Early Readers)

A smiling white ghost sits in a yellow bowl and holds up an ice cream cone. The bowl is on top of a rectangular grey computer with brightly colored buttons. A smaller white ghost smiles and floats in the background. Text: "Johnny Boo and the Ice Cream Computer. James Kochalka."

Johnny Boo creates an incredible Ice Cream Computer that can turn anything into delicious ice cream. Old toys that you don’t want to play with anymore? Ice cream! Clods of dirt and grass? Ice cream! It works great…until Squiggle decides to turn himself into ice cream! Then: Johnny Boo time travels to the future, where the Mean Little Boy tries to add him to his butterfly collection. Can Squiggle save the day, or will everyone get turned into ice cream??

Speaking of adorable…this sounds cute and hilarious and silly, which is just the kind of book I’m in the mood for right now. This is the 8th Johnny Boo book, so I’m obviously missing out on quite the phenomenon here. I need to catch up!

Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez (Lorena Alvarez nominated 2018 for Best Writer/Artist)

A young girl with brown skin and black hair in pigtails sits in a forest. She is surrounded by unusual, brightly colored flowers. Eyes of varying shapes and sizes look out from the darkness behind her. She holds a pencil and paper. Papers with drawings on them are scattered around her. Text: "Lorena Alvarez. Nightlights."

Every night, tiny stars appear out of the darkness in little Sandy’s bedroom. She catches them and creates wonderful creatures to play with until she falls asleep, and in the morning brings them back to life in the whimsical drawings that cover her room. One day, Morphie, a mysterious pale girl, appears at school. And she knows all about Sandy’s drawings…

I’ve actually read this book several times. I’ve been sitting on a half-finished review for entirely too long because I’m struggling to do justice to this gorgeous work of art. It is just jaw-droppingly beautiful. Lorena Alvarez might be my favorite kidlit artist working today.

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol (nominated and won 2012 for Best Publication for Young Adults)

A black, grey, and white image of a girl in profile. She looks up in annoyance at her long hair, which is black and floats behind her and back up over her head. The outline of a ghost is seen in her hair smiling impishly. Text: "'A masterpiece!' - Neil Gaiman. Anya's Ghost. Vera Brosgol."

Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.

Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend even a ghost is just what she needs.

Or so she thinks.

There were times in my childhood and adolescence (…fine, and adulthood too) when falling down a well would have been vastly preferable to living my normal life, so I already feel a kinship with this book. It sounds a little darker and a little spookier than the other titles on the list with the possible exception of Nightlights — and y’all know how much I love all things dark and spooky.

Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel (nominated 2011 for Best Publication for Teens, Doug TenNapel nominated 2011 for Best Lettering)

A white boy with brown hair sits slumped-over on a skeleton horse as he gazes up at the horizon, where a large grey castle with sharp spires sits among swirling purple and blue fog. Text: "Ghostopolis. Doug TenNapel."

Imagine Garth Hale’s surprise when he’s accidentally zapped to the spirit world by Frank Gallows, a washed-out ghost wrangler. Suddenly Garth finds he has powers the ghosts don’t have, and he’s stuck in a world run by the evil ruler of Ghostopolis, who would use Garth’s newfound abilities to rule the ghostly kingdom. When Garth meets Cecil, his grandfather’s ghost, the two search for a way to get Garth back home, and nearly lose hope until Frank Gallows shows up to fix his mistake.

The synopsis sounds fantastic, but (as so often happens with me) what really drew me in was the cover art. It’s so rich and striking, and that one image already tells such an amazing story. Plus, I’m a big comic book lettering nerd. The fantastic title lettering coupled with Doug TenNapel’s nod for Best Lettering tells me I’m in for quite a treat.

The Mighty Skullboy Army by Jacob Chabot (nominated 2008 for Best Publication for Teens)

A skeleton-boy wearing a white suit flies by with a grinning monkey and a blue-and-yellow robot. In the background, a teacher and her class watch in front of the brick Frogtown Elementary school building. Text: "The Mighty Skullboy Army Vol. 1 by Jacob Chabot."

Brazen robots! Criminally insane turnips! Distinctly unhelpful helper monkeys! All this and more await any brave soul ready and willing to enlist in the ranks of the Mighty Skullboy Army! How do you sign up? Just purchase this book, absorb its nefarious bounty (we recommend using the eyes-to-brain method), and say hello to Skullboy — your new overlord!

This synopsis contains many of the things that I love best in this world, but those of you who’ve been reading Spooky KidLit for a while know precisely what made me want to read this: the sinister turnips.

Have you and/or your kids read any of these books? Let me know what you thought! And please leave a comment telling me all about what you’re reading right now or how your TBR is looking. Have a great weekend!

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