'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Review: The Nelly Gang (The Adventures of Nelly Nolan #1)

Stephen Axelsen’s illustrations are irresistible. His comic strip tale for emerging readers (and older comic strip enthusiasts) provides story details without needing many words, just as any quality comic strip should. Axelsen’s clever use of visual details leads to a fast-moving frolic through the 1860s Australian Gold fields and beyond.

Having said that, the first double page opening offered a multitude of potential stories. Where is that lady going with a live pig under one arm and a cloth-covered basket in the other? How about the exhausted dog draped over a tree stump in the middle of the dusty thoroughfare? Will he spring to life at the sight of a cat getting a lift on horseback? Anticipation did not lead to disappointment. Close examination of the smallest comic strip pics offers subplots.

The fun then began on the following double page spread with page upon page of comic strip segments. Fun, dastardly plans, at least one villain and a pet goat entertain amid the danger. Can Nelly rescue her father from the clutches of Captain Sunbeam? Will the children escape each of several close shaves with their lives? And who will get the gold? Get ready to find out as the pages fly beneath your fingers.

Thank you, Stephen Axelsen for reigniting an old, much-loved format for today’s readers: the comic strip. With a minimum of words, you have created a format that will also hook reluctant and struggling readers between the pages.

You can see a trailer for The Nelly Gang here and there are teachers' notes available.

Title: The Nelly Gang (The Adventures of Nelly Nolan #1)
Author/Illustrator: Stephen Axelsen
Publisher: Walker Books, $19.95 RRP
Publication Date: 1 August 2013
Format: Soft Cover
ISBN: 9781921977916
For ages:6+
Type: Junior Fiction, Comic Strip/Graphic Novel