The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 1: Squirrel Power

If you’ve never heard of Squirrel Girl, I strongly urge you to remedy that situation immediately! Until this weekend, I didn’t know much about this unbelievably wonderful superhero, and I’m so glad that I decided to learn more.

In Squirrel Power, the first volume of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Doreen Green, aka Squirrel Girl, is off to college. She’s attending Empire State University as a computer science major, but her crime-fighting is getting in the way of the whole college experience. What’s a girl to do, though, when robbers and assorted super villains attack her fair city? She simply has to act, and she does so with humor, wit, and, of course, squirrels.

Whether she’s going head-to-head with Kraven the Hunter, Galactus, or Whiplash, Squirrel Girl approaches each super villain with the expectation that she–and her squirrel sidekick, Tippy-Toe–will emerge victorious. Does that always involve some epic battle? Not exactly. Sometimes it simply means convincing the bad guy to use a bit of common sense or directing him to a different, less destructive goal. Sometimes, however, it means using all of the squirrel power at her disposal–and maybe some “borrowed” technology from a certain man of iron–to show her nemesis the error of his ways.

Whatever happens, the planet can count on Squirrel Girl when bad stuff goes down. Now, if only she can find some way to balance being a superhero with being a freshman in college!

I cannot say enough good things about this first volume of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. The art is lively, colorful, engaging, and fun. The writing is brilliant, witty, and totally captures the essence of this vibrant character. (Make sure to look for even more hilarity at the bottom of each page!) And I really, really hope Marvel eventually produces the “Deadpool’s Guide to Super Villains” cards that Squirrel Girl uses for reference. I would totally buy those.

Props to writer Ryan North, artist Erica Henderson, and everyone at Marvel for not making Squirrel Girl some unrealistic bombshell. We see enough of those. Squirrel Girl is athletic, muscled, and curvy, and I think someone with her build is much more likely to defeat a beefed up bad guy than a 100-pound woman with all of her business hanging out.

If you’re wondering whether or not to purchase this volume of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl for your library, I would have to give you an emphatic YES! This book/character has wide appeal and is sure to be a hit with comic book readers of all ages. I’m putting a copy in my elementary library, and I would do the same if I were in a middle school, high school, or public library. Having read and reread this first volume, I don’t think there’s anything remotely objectionable about it, and I feel confident recommending it to my students. I think you’ll feel the same.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is a serial comic book. This volume, Squirrel Power, combines books 1-4 (plus Marvel Super-Heroes 8) into one graphic novel. I recommend purchasing this volume–and any others you decide to buy–for a library or classroom because the individual comic books aren’t exactly durable and aren’t produced for multiple users.

If you decide that The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is perfect for your personal, classroom, school, or public library, there are more volumes already out and one coming soon:

  • Volume 2: Squirrel You Know It’s True
  • Volume 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now
  • Volume 4: I Kissed a Squirrel and I Liked It
  • Volume 5: Like I’m the Only Squirrel in the World (published April 4th)

Will all of these volumes be suitable for elementary or middle grades? I can’t say that for sure, but I will definitely be reading them to find out.

There’s also a middle-grade novel about Squirrel Girl coming soon. Shannon and Dean Hale have teamed up to write The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World, and it comes out on February 7th. I have a galley copy of this book that I’ll be posting on here soon. Stay tuned!

For more Squirrel Girl goodness, check out the Squirrel Girl Tumblr site. Enjoy!

Glass Houses

A couple of weeks ago, I was riding to a meeting with my friend Jennifer, and she suggested I check out Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires series.  To be perfectly honest, I was a bit hesitant to start another vampire series, but, when Jennifer put the first two books in my school mailbox, I decided to give the first one a whirl.  Now, all I have to say is, “Thank you, Jennifer!”  I just finished the first book, Glass Houses, and I am hooked.  Being the dedicated book nerd that I am, I plan to order each book in the series.  (There are eight so far, and I think the ninth comes out in October.)  As soon as I finish this post, I plan to start reading book two, The Dead Girls’ Dance.

In Glass Houses, we meet sixteen-year-old Claire Danvers.  Claire is a genius and should be going to school at MIT or Caltech, but her parents don’t think she’s quite ready for that yet.  So they enroll her at TPU (Texas Prairie University) in Morganville, Texas.  Almost immediately, Claire becomes a target of some of the meanest you-know-whats on the planet.  The head mean girl, Monica, seems to literally want to kill Claire.  Claire is afraid for her life and knows that she can’t stay in the dorms any more.  Everyone there is either afraid of Monica or is one of her henchmen (henchwomen?).  So Claire decides to move off-campus, and her first (and seemingly only) option, is the Glass House.

The Glass House is one of the oldest in Morganville.  It is described as a cross between Gone with the Wind and The Munsters.  As soon as Claire sees the house, she decides that’s an accurate description.  Three people already live in the house.  First, there’s Eve–a goth chic who is obsessed with death and works at the nearby coffee shop.  Then, we’ve got Shane–a muscular guy who likes to eat, date, and play video games.  Finally, there’s Michael–the house’s mysterious owner who only shows up at night.  Even though both Claire and the residents of the Glass House are hesitant about living together, they decide to give it a go.  And it’s a good thing that Claire has found this place because Monica is more determined than ever that Claire needs to die.

Monica, however, might be the least of Claire’s worries.  As it turns out, Morganville is home to a bunch of vampires, and not the sparkly kind.  They run the town, and anyone not under their protection is fair game (and I mean “game” literally).  Claire has somehow gotten on the wrong side of the town’s vampires and their friends.  (Did I mention that Monica happens to “date” one of the vamps?  No?  My bad.)  Now, her life is in danger, and she’s unwittingly dragged her new roommates into the fray.  But Eve, Shane, and Michael have their own issues with the vampires and their buddies, and they join Claire in a fight to save themselves and the Glass House without losing their lives.  Will they succeed, or will one (or all) of them become one of the monsters they’re trying to fight?  Read Glass Houses to find out (maybe).

If this post has sparked your interest, and you would like to know more about The Morganville Vampires and Rachel Caine, visit  Now I’m off to read book two!