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Monday, December 12, 2011

Lone Hawk, a graphic novel by John Lang. Puffin, Penguin. 2011. $15.00 ages 10 and up

"Lone Hawk is a great historical account of an important Canadian, and that's great, but at its core it's also a really good story, told well by a cartoonist who is still only at the beginning of what will undooubtedly be a long and exciting career. A few more books like this and kids won't have to hide thier comic books inside their textbooks much longer; their comics will be their textbooks."

The above quote is from the FOREWORD written by Jeff Lemire for this new graphic novel, a story that will be appreciated by many. You know who they are!

I have to admit that graphica is not my chosen genre. Even when my kids were young, the one thing I refused to read to them were comics; and as a child myself I had only a brief relationship with Archie and the gang. So, I push myself to read graphica knowing how popular it is with so many. My friend Don is working hard to help me develop an appreciation of all that graphic novels have to offer.

I was pleased to receive two new graphic novels ( I will post the other soon) from Penguin last week, and especiallyhappy that they fit my newfound and growing interest in picture book biography. More importantly they are about Canadians to admire and know.

Billy Bishop proved himself an expert marksman as a young boy, when his father offered him money to help alleviate the headache of a burgeoning and destructive squirrel population. By the end of the first week, his father owed him $7.00...a veritable forturne in the early nineteenth century.

His love was not in education. When his chance came to sign up for service in World War I, he hastily withdrew from the Royal Military College where he was close to failing his year. It was in England that he discovered his love of flying. It took some time to learn his trade and he proved himself an apt student and a brave airman. He loved being in the air, where there were no mud-filled trenches,
or lingering mustard gases. There was great danger; pilots often flew their perilous missions without downing a single plane.

That was not Billy's intention. He worked hard to perfect his aerial and combat skills. He had an innate instinct for it. By the end of the war, he had seventy-two officially confirmed victories and was awarded every major medal, including the Victoria Cross. He was a valuable asset to the Canadian war effort and a true symbol of the patriotism and bravery of our Canadian troops in the first great war.

I learned and remembered all this from a carefully, crafted graphic novel that will find fans in those who love their stories told this way, and also in history buffs. It is a worthy addition to the nonfiction that concerns war and warfare, and Canadian history.

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