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June Staff Picks!

Check out this month’s staff picks from the Betty’s Books crew!


Alain’s Pick


The First Cat In Space Ate Pizza book coverThe First Cat In Space Ate Pizza by Mac Barnett and Shawn Harris
The rats in space are EATING the moon! That means it’s time to activate Project 47. The fate of the whole world rests on our famed hero… a cat? In a spacesuit? Who only meows? Teamed up with a robot whose purpose is to clip toenails and the queen of the moon, the gang attempts to save the galaxy from the dark side of the moon. With a perilous journey and lots of pizza, will our heroes be able to save the world?

With fantastic pacing/comedic paneling, this moon book is funny, exciting, and cute. The art is gorgeous, looking like it’s all done with pastels, which gives a textured, luscious, and alive quality. The book really is a fun read, and the amount of puns kept me giggling throughout the whole story. I’d definitely recommend this for everyone; it’s a great read by yourself or with the younger kiddos in your life.


Alex’s Pick


Anais Nin: A Sea of Lies book coverAnais Nin: A Sea of Lies by Léonie Bischoff
This unbelievably gorgeous biographical tale follows the exploits and affairs of famed writer Anais Nin, constructing a portrait of an incredibly flawed and complicated woman. At BB’s we sometimes struggle with making certain individuals wandering in aware that, no, we’re not a children’s bookstore and additionally that, no, all comics are not for children. This book is a superb example… It’s been quite a while since I’ve read something so explicit! Don’t let the ethereal, lush colored-pencil art trick you: this story has very R-rated moments. In fact, I would also add a trigger warning for some generally upsetting sexual themes, concerning a specific plot point especially. If you’d like a more detailed explanation of what that entails, here’s a link to the Wiki page of one of Nin’s autobiographical works. The title alone is a good indication of what I’m referring to.

Despite how uncomfortable I felt at times reading this book, the narration coming from the character Anais herself handles the heavy situations she gets into with a touch light and sometimes casual enough that I rarely felt truly bogged down. There is a scene towards the end that is by far the most disturbing (again, click that link if you don’t mind the spoiler and want a heads up), and despite the fact that Anais herself seems to narrate the encounter with what feels to be too relaxed a tone, the illustrations depict her cognitive dissonance: suddenly everything is colored in negatives, showing us very explicitly how twisted the situation really is, despite our protagonist’s waffling perception.

The art takes center stage in Anais Nin: A Sea of Lies and Bischoff does an excellent job utilizing the medium to open a doorway into Anais’s mind, revealing nearly wordless spreads that tell us exactly how Anais is feeling. It’s a great example of the ways in which art can convey just as much as words, in its own unique way.

This book is certainly not for everyone, but if you’re up for it, I highly recommend giving it a try. The illustrations alone are such a joy to take in, and it’s one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve read in quite a while.


Betty’s Pick


Girl Juice book coverGirl Juice by Benji Nate
Girl Juice celebrates the messy, fun time that is being a young woman in her twenties living with three roommates. Think Sex and the City or Girls, but hip, irreverent, and with just the right dash of satire. There’s Tula, an aspiring YouTuber who is haunted by a literal demon attracted to attention-seeking behavior. And there’s Bunny, who is disappointed that adult prom is actually just “a bunch of sad millennials regressing.” Add in the responsible Sadie, and the sad clown cartoonist, Nana, and you’ve got the whole girl gang. Benji Nate’s art is colorful, energetic, and generally a delight. I love everything about the character design–each character’s look is so distinct–but I especially love the way she draws eyes! They can be all black, have stars in them, or just look “normal.” All of the options are hyperbolic (even the normal ones), but perfect.


Colin’s Pick


Superman Space Age book coverSuperman Space Age by Mark Russell, Michael Allred, and Laura Allred
Mark Russell can brilliantly balance humor and melancholy that’ll have you rolling in the aisles one minute and in the next silently contemplating the futility of your actions. In this standalone tale, Superman is told that the Earth will end within his lifetime and Superman will be Superman and figure out a way to stop it. The story spans multiple decades and Michael Allred is the perfect artist to capture that silver and bronze age feel that is simply spiffy. All our pals are here from Batman to Zapruder, and Russell & Allred actually squeeze in a surprisingly interesting Joker take in there too. This book belongs alongside other iconic Superman stories like All Star Superman, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, and Up, Up, and Away.