Cici’s Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-In-Training by Joris Chamblain
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
First Published: November 7th, 2017
Publisher: First Second
Recommended Age: 7+
Genres & Themes: Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Mystery, Art, Friendship
Cici dreams of being a novelist. Her favorite subject: people, especially adults. She’s been watching them and taking notes. Everybody has one special secret, Cici figures, and if you want to write about people, you need to understand what’s hiding inside them. But now she’s discovered something truly strange: an old man who disappears into the forest every Sunday with huge pots of paint in all sorts of colors. What is he up to? Why does he look so sad when he comes back?
A lovely book for young readers.
The illustrations are incredible. Actually, it’s the colouring that makes them so exceptional. If they had been in black and white, they would still have been charming, but not this admirable, so the colours the colourist used made all the difference here.
Cici wants to become a writer, because she loves stories. She especially loves to find stories in people she doesn’t know—people she describes as being ‘‘mysterious’’. She’s a young detective, but without the dangerous, reckless side.
There are two ‘‘mystery’’ cases in this graphic novel, as it combines the first two volumes in the Les Carnets de Cerise series, translated from French. The first one is the best. It is so unexpected and heart-warming that I have to applaud it. The second one, however, is less so. While still charming, it felt like the type of story I’ve heard many times before.
And I couldn’t process why the sad old lady didn’t just buy a copy of the book. Seems to me like she wouldn’t have to take the bus so often or worry about the book ever leaving her side.
It has a ‘‘young vibe,’’ that’s undeniable. I was bothered by the role Cici’s friends played, and so were they by the way. Your friends shouldn’t exist as planets to your sun. It shouldn’t be all about Cici, but it is. Cici and her mystery cases, that is.
On the other hand, Cici is adventurous, creative, smart, warm and determined, qualities worth recognizing. She made the story interesting, because she herself was interested in the world around her and looked at it in a unique light.
So I enjoyed it, but I am expecting more teamwork in the future. After all, even the best of writers collaborate, don’t they? And if her friends don’t want to jump into her adventures all the time, perhaps she could meet someone who shares this passion of hers?
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