A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a modern, graphic novel take on the Nancy Drew stories with few words of substance but great illustrations. Nancy and her friends encounter some scary-for-a-second situations (getting chased by a large lizard, for example), but the drawings never show blood or anything very frightening.
What's the story?
While getting a private tour of a newly built eco-park, Nancy and the manager discover a strange fungus that's killing the plants and that could potentially destroy the park's domed buildings. Several pages later, it does indeed corrode the wooden frame of the buildings, making one come crashing to the ground. The manager enlists the help of Nancy to find out who -- or what -- is sabotaging the park's existence. \
While trying to solve the mystery, Nancy and her pals come face-to-face with a komodo dragon in the desert dome, dodge Sasquatch in the alpine dome, and finally, bundle up to fight off the Abominable Snowman in the arctic. The snowman backs into the temperature controls and turns on the heat, causing the ice to melt and the animals to start to overheat. Once they're all safely corralled in the infirmary, Nancy discovers a clue that just might identify the culprit who's reeking havoc, and in return save the park.
Is it any good?
It's too bad the art -- skillfully crafted in anime style by Sho Murase -- is the only thing that makes this novel stand out. There are a few educational lessons about the environment and such, but they usually feel preachy and out of place ("I was impressed to see that despite all of her money, she drove a little hybrid, almost like mine!").
This time around, Nancy's sporting a modern, salmon-colored hairdo; big, anime-inspired blue eyes; and tall, fashion-forward boots. Although her image has changed over the decades, her spirit remains the same. In this eighth graphic novel in the series, she uses her proactive problem-solving skills and quick thinking to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about teamwork. Do you think Nancy could have figured out what was going on without the help of her friends? How can you rely on other people to help you? What are the advantages and disadvantages to solving problems on your own? Families can also compare the format of these graphic novels to the original full-length books. Which do you like better? Why? Are the detailed photos a good substitute for words?