We always liked the All Ages Reads feature in Newsarama — actual kids reacing kids comings and giving their thoughts. This time they look at The Black Belt Club and Abadazad — I was particularly curious about the latter, because after a HUGE publicity push for it last year from Disney is kinda dropped off the grid entirely. :

I have several problems with the new format. First, there just isn’t enough of what made it great in the first place – comics. I counted 24 pages of comics out of the 144 pages in the first issue; if my calculator is to be trusted, that’s a tad over 16%. Second, the books are just too small. At roughly 8” by 5”, the books just aren’t big enough to do Ploog and Bell’s magnificent work justice. And because of the page frame that is supposed to look like we’re reading a book within a book, the comics are even smaller than they could have been. It looks like the pages were photocopied at a reduced percentage and they just don’t hold the same magic as the original at all. In addition, the text in the comic sections is so small that anyone over the age of 40 will have trouble reading it. Not that I’d know that from personal experience or anything.

These complaints aside, Abadazad is still high-quality literature and is recommended for readers of any age. It would make a great read-together book for younger kids and their parents. Abadazad definitely belongs in children’s libraries and could be used to great effect in classrooms – it’s a shining example of great storytelling.

Shelby says: I like that it’s in the form of a diary but she’s talking to you, too. The whole idea of the story is interesting because it’s different from everything else. I just like the idea that Kate goes to another world and the made-up characters in Abadazad are cool because they’re really different from the creatures on earth. The pictures are important because it explains some things that you can’t really do in words. Sometimes in books there are really good descriptions of characters so you can understand what they look like and you don’t need pictures, but in Abadazad it’s like impossible to describe some of them, so the artist has to draw them. The art has got a lot of color and that makes it look really good. Mostly kids who can read and their parents will like it.