Babymouse: Queen of the World, by Holm & Holm

This adorable series stars Babymouse, a young mouse who longs for glamor and adventure. Queen of the World, the first book in the series, is about Babymouse’s longing to be popular, like Felicia Furrypaws. Babymouse will do whatever it takes to get an invitation to Felicia’s sleepover, but most of her plans backfire. When she finally does get an invitation and goes to the sleepover, she learns that popularity is not as great as she thought it would be.

The illustrations in this graphic novel are bold black and white line drawings with bright pink accents (the heart on Babymouse’s dress, for example). When Babymouse is daydreaming, as often happens, the pictures become primarily pink and black. This art style is sure to appeal to young girls, as is the subject matter. Throughout this series, Babymouse has to juggle the demands of school and friends, and she always learns a lesson about what is most important. In Queen of the World, for example, she learns who her true friends are and that popularity is overrated. My favorite part of these books is the way Babymouse talks to the narrator, making the narration a much more important part of the story than usual:

Babymouse: “Wait a minute…”
Narrator: “What is it?”
Babymouse: “My life is great!”
Narrator: “I knew you’d figure it out eventually, Babymouse.”
Babymouse: “You don’t have to rub it in.”
Narrator: “Sorry.”

(Queen of the World, p. 84.)

All of the Babymouse graphic novels have simple, cute plots that many young girls will relate to and enjoy. They are excellent books to engage reluctant readers, and their focus on the mundane details of everyday life make them perfect for girls who are just starting to emphasize friendships and school over other activities. The bold illustrations are appealing to young girls, who will love the emphasis on pink!

Why I recommend this graphic novel:
Many of the heroines on this list are extraordinary girls in extraordinary situations. While these women are great role models, it’s unlikely that our young readers will be asked to fight outlaws with twenty-foot braids or to outwit a beldam. However, all readers will be faced with peer pressures, fights with friends and parents, and the little mistakes every child inevitably makes. Young girls can sympathize with Babymouse’s strong emotions and tendency to daydream. Many graphic novels are aimed at older boys, so it’s great to find one aimed at younger girls.

Holm, Jennifer and Matthew Holm. Babymouse: Queen of the World. Random House Books for Young Children: 2005. Gr. 2-6

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