Written By: Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Growing up, I would read the Sunday Funnies in the paper each week. My favorites were Charlie Brown and Garfield. The problem with the Sunday Funnies was that the comics that I enjoyed reading only took about 5 minutes and left me yearning for more. Enter Babymouse: Queen of the World. Finally, a comic that sparked my interest was longer than just a strip in the Sunday paper. A comic that was not full of superheroes. A comic with a plot fully illustrated in pink and black—boy, are kids lucky these days.
As I read through Babymouse, I laughed, I empathized, and I felt as though I was reading a mile a minute in order to keep up with Babymouse’s clever and witty innermost thoughts. Holm and Holm immediately introduce the reader to the sparkly personality of Babymouse by including her in the very first few pages. I couldn’t help but laugh as I read the comment, “What is all this stuff?” on the copyright page and imagined this being a pretty “typical” thought for many.
Babymouse is much like any girl growing up and dealing with the trials and tribulations of SCHOOL and LIFE! She deals on a daily basis with having curly whiskers, an annoying little brother, boring homework, and a locker that sticks when all she really wants is GLAMOUR, EXCITEMENT, and ADVENTURE! She has a best friend that she has known since Kindergarten, but still feels like she wants something more—she wants to be popular—she wants to be friends with Felicia Furrypaws.
By choosing to use the format of a graphic novel, Holm and Holm allow themselves to have several different things going on at one time. It is up to the reader to draw conclusions about what is narration, what is conversation, what is daydreaming, and what is a complete departure from reality. Some clues are given throughout the graphic novel in order to advise the reader, although, in many instances, the reader needs to decide. For instance, a box indicates the text that is considered narration and this is the case throughout the entire book. However, speech bubbles are used to indicate both conversation and thoughts of Babymouse when she is daydreaming.
Holm and Holm also use the use of color in order to uniquely indicate the change from reality to a complete departure from reality. I noticed that throughout the book, the everyday conversations and daydreams were indicated by mostly black and white illustrations with a hint of pink. As Babymouse departs reality, the windows begin to saturate with pink and black—making it very obvious that we as readers are entering a different world.
Regardless of the simplicity of the cartoon illustrations, text, and use of only two colors, I was captivated. Did I want to cry at the thought of Babymouse almost losing her best friend? No, I didn’t. In reality, would the thought of this be something to cry about? Probably. Because of the simplicity of the illustrations and the lack of color, I wasn’t emotionally invested in the character to the point where I found the book anything but humorous. I certainly related to the book and I believe the plot is something most anyone could relate to—even boys—that is, if they are willing to pick it up in spite of the pink and black.