Jellaby: The Lost Monster & Jellaby: A Monster in the City by Kean Soo


jellaby 1

Author & Illustrator: Kean Soo
Published February, 2008 by Hyperion Books for Children
(Rereleased in 2014 by Stone Arch Books)

jellaby 2

Author & Illustrator: Kean Soo
Published April, 2009 by Hyperion Books for Children
(Rereleased in 2014 by Stone Arch Books)

Jellaby Goodreads Summary: Quiet, brilliant Portia has just moved to a new neighborhood with her mom. Adjusting to life without a father is hard enough, but school is boring and her classmates are standoffish — and even Portia’s mom is strangely distant. But things start looking up when Portia mounts a late-night excursion into the woods behind her house and discovers a shy, sweet-natured purple monster. Life with Jellaby is a lot more exciting, but Portia’s purple friend has secrets of his own; secrets that may even lead to the mystery of Portia’s father’s disappearance!

Jellaby: Monster in the City Goodreads Summary: As Portia, Jason, and Jellaby continue their journey through the city of Toronto, Portia is torn between her friendship with Jellaby and her duty to help the sweet monster find his way back to his home. How can Portia say goodbye forever, when Jellaby has become her best friend?
But the clues leading them to Jellaby’s origins begin to turn sinister. When a hooded wizard introduces them to another monster like Jellaby, Portia and her purple friend are in for a gruesome shock — this monster befriends children, too — and then she eats them Now Portia must find a home for Jellaby, save Jason from the grasping tentacles of his new “best friend,” and come to terms with the mysterious disappearance of her father. It’s a lot to take on, but Portia is mad, bad, and ready to kick some monster butt.

My Review and Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: I am a big fan of the mostly single color comics (ala Babymouse, Lunch Lady, etc.) and Jellaby is one as well with primarily purple in its illustrations. Also, Kean Soo’s style of illustrations are perfect for the story he is telling. They are very comicy, but realistic and filled with emotions.

This little graphic novel has a lot of heart in it. Portia, Jason (her classmate) and Jellaby all feel abandoned and the story is not only about finding where Jellaby belongs, but also helping Portia and Jason feel like they belong as well.

You will want the second one as soon as you are done, so make sure you have it available! And luckily, this sequel is a continuation of the first Jellaby because that one definitely left you hanging and the story does not disappoint. You see the characters growing so much through this journey even when they encounter obstacles that they shouldn’t be able to overcome. I, personally, didn’t like this one as much as the first one because I wish it had more answers, but I truly loved the ending. I am sad that there is no more Jellaby, but luckily the author has extras on his website!!  I will be buying both for my classroom.

Discussion Questions: Portia doesn’t feel like she fits in at her new school- when was a time that you felt like you didn’t belong? How did you deal with the situation?

We Flagged: “I hope you like Tuna.  I remember mom making me a tuna sandwich for my first day of school.  It was terrible.  My first day of school, I mean, not the sandwich. We had just moved out here, and I didn’t know anyone at all.  Everyone was so strange and they all had their own friends anyway.  I really didn’t want to be there, so I snuck out at lunchtime and ate my sandwich out on the bleachers.  Now whenever I smell tuna, I always think about that first day.” (Jellaby p. 28-29)

Since the snatch doesn’t give you the full picture, below you will find the an interview with Kean Soo to give you an idea of the drawing style:

Read This If You Loved: Bone (series) by Jeff Smith, Zita and the Spacegirl (series) by Ben Hatke, Sidekicks by Dan Santat

Recommended For: 



**Thank you Netgalley and Stone Arch Books for providing the e-galleys**

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