OK, let’s get all the PEANUTS comparisons out of the way. Amelia Rules!, a deceptively simple, good-humored look at the lives of elementary school aged Amelia and her friends, certainly does bring to mind Charles Schulz’s legendary stories. The artistic style, the adolescent point of view, and the examination of every day life mirror the days of Charlie Brown without being an irritating knock-off. Aside from all those ancestral ties, shall we say, Amelia Rules! is most importantly a great comic for kids, filled by turns with hilarious adventures and difficult lessons that all kids must go through as they grow up. I was certainly laughing out loud as Amelia discovers, on her first day at her new school, that she has unwittingly entered the social sphere as a nerd by association. I was also shaking off the wince of remembering just how important such an association, or lack thereof, can be. Underneath her joking exterior, though, Amelia has a fair number of burdens on her shoulders. Ameila’s dealing with her parents’ recent divorce, starting a new school, crushing on the oblivious boy next door, and battling with her wildly coiffed arch-nemesis, Rhonda. Her friends, from a not-so-closeted superhero wannabe to the silent but sweet Pajamaman, are quick to play — and tease. Her family, from her distracted mom to her wise and worldy aunt, is fractured in a realistic but never grim way. In the end, Amelia Rules! is probably one of the most straightforward and endearing pictures of childhood in comics right now — no small feat, especially in a market that seems to have lost its original young audience. Great for kids, and adults, this title is definitely a must for libraries.
Amelia Rules!, vol. 1: The Whole World’s Crazy
by Jimmy Gownley
Atheneum 2009 (new edition)