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Graffix Books                 Highly Recommended
(A&C Black)

Graffix is a fiction series aimed at 9-12 year olds but also suitable for older readers. The books are in comic-strip format, but they can't be dismissed as a throwaway read. They feature stories by top-notch writers, such as Michael Hardcastle, Bernard Ashley, Elizabeth Laird, Jim Eldridge, Pete Johnson - I could go on. The illustrations are not as wacky as some I've seen, and the books are, in my opinion, better for it. The straightforward design makes for an easier read - and when we're considering the reluctant reader, why put an obstacle like confusing layout in the way of a good reading experience?

Are they popular? I'll say!  From the moment Graffix arrived in the school library, they've hardly touched the shelves. Little notes are frequently left with the librarian, asking her to please, please, please keep a particular title back.

Some of the books appeal to boys more than girls, and vice versa, but it's the effect they've had on the reluctant readers that's so pleasing. And since they're keen to read them all, boys who'll normally only ever consider football stories are reading a mystery, ghost story, detective story, sci-fi - even romance! As the publisher's poster proclaims: 'If you like comics you'll love Graffix'.

reviewed by Valerie Wilding

Biker! by Anthony Masters
ISBN 0-7136-4711-6
This one features Terry, who's nuts about moto-cross, and good at it, too. He'd be happy if only Dad would take notice of him, perhaps come and watch, but Dad only seems to care about brother Jon's rugby. Great illustrations, full of action. 'A really fun, nerve-racking, exciting book,' says Daniel  (Alton Convent School)
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My Brother's a Keeper  by Michael Hardcastle
ISBN 0-7136-5384-1
The team's goalkeeper's out of action, and Carlo recommends his new stepbrother, Justin, to take his place. After all, he's caught sight of him in action and he was great. The trouble is, Justin doesn't perform too well when he's being watched. What's he going to be like in the final? This is great for football-lovers, and Sam  (Alton Convent School) said, "It was very good and it made me read on."
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Thirteen Candles by Mary Hooper
ISBN 0-7136-4984-4 
Who's the unexpected presence in the video of Julia's 13th birthday party? She goes through some strange experiences before discovering the truth. This is a spooky mystery and, although the main characters are girls, our two male reviewers, Paul  and Ashley  (Alton Convent School) agreed: "It made us read on. It gave us a lot of questions we wanted to know the answers to."
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Roy Kane TV Detective by Steve Bowkett
ISBN 0-7136-4955-0
Well, we have TV cooks, TV decorators and TV gardeners, so why not a TV detective? Although the technology's bang up-to-date, this one has a slightly old-fashioned look about it that I found appealing; lots of atmospheric shadows and a detective in a trench coat! It's been in the school library for a while and rarely spends any time on the shelf.
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Other Graffix titles

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