Third grader Vera Vance has signed up for the comics camp after-school program, but her mother would much rather she focus on academics, athletics, music. . . anything but comics!
Vera loves all things comic books, so she can't wait for the comics after-school class to start--even though her mother wonders whether it's educational enough. But Vera is determined to participate, and starts developing her own comic about Big Spoon and Little Spoon with the encouragement of her enthusiastic friend Nixie and instruction from teachers who are accomplished cartoonists themselves. As the weeks go by, the after-school teachers announce that for the final class, students will go on a field trip to a local comic-con--and they can even enter a page from their comics in a contest that will be judged there! Vera isn't surprised when her mother says she can't go. But maybe Big Spoon and Little Spoon can convince her mother to accept her passion.
Vera Vance: Comics Star follows Nixie Ness: Cooking Star in the After-School Superstars chapter book series. Perfect for fans of Judy Moody, Ivy and Bean, and Clementine, the series is illustrated in black and white and each book includes a bonus activity that corresponds to the book's plot. A Junior Library Guild Selection!
Gr 2-5—This beginning chapter book stars budding artist Vera as she navigates her elementary after-school program and a series of personal anxieties. Most paramount of her constant worries is Vera's relationship with her mother, who disapproves of the comic camp that Vera loves. Vera is new to her town and school but finds a fast friend in Nixie. Yet with this friendship comes another anxiety: Vera is scared to voice that she would like to work independently on her own comic rather than work as a team. She begins to funnel her energy and her own emotional narrative into creating a comic about a character named Little Spoon, based on herself. The character of Big Spoon resembles Vera's disapproving mother. Vera despairs of ever finding the courage to speak up for what she wants, but she finds her voice by speaking up for classmates who are being teased. Vera still struggles to find the words to tell her mother, who she disagrees with but loves deeply, that she wants to attend the local comic con with her fellow campers. She chooses to let her art speak for her instead and uses the story of Little Spoon and Big Spoon to reveal her inner fears and wants. VERDICT This is a welcome addition to the "After-School Superstars" series and a lesson in family love and self-expression.—Lauren Younger, University of Dallas LibraryCopyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.