Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Matthew Holm

Published by GRAPHIX 

Summary: Sunny is not happy at the prospect of spending the entire month of August, 1976 with her grandfather in Florida. He lives in a retirement community with no kids, she has to sleep on a squeaky sofa bed, and Grandpa’s idea of a big outing is a trip to the grocery store. In chapters flashing back to various points in the last couple years, the truth about why Sunny is on her extended visit are gradually revealed: her older brother is having some serious trouble with drugs and alcohol, and their parents want Sunny away from home while they try to get him some help. Sunny makes friends with the gardener’s comic book-loving son, and eventually is able to talk to her grandfather about what is going on at home, getting reassurance that it’s not her fault. She even talks him into a trip to Disney World before she returns home in September. Ages 8-12.

Pros: This seems to be the year for graphic novels starring girl protagonists. The award-winning Babymouse brother-and-sister team has produced a touching story based on their own childhood. An author’s note at the end talks about living with someone with an addiction.

Cons: I didn’t like the artwork quite as much as some other similar graphic novels (Smile, Roller Girl). Although the rendition of the 1976-era “Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific” magazine ad was spot on.

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