Cici's Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-In-Training

Cici's Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-In-Training

Cici dreams of being a novelist. Her favorite subject: people, especially adults. She’s been watching them and taking notes. Everybody has one special secret, Cici figures, and if you want to write about people, you need to understand what’s hiding inside them. But now she’s discovered something truly strange: an old man who disappears into the forest every Sunday with hug...

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Title:Cici's Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-In-Training
Author:Joris Chamblain
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Cici's Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-In-Training Reviews

  • Fran

    Cici loves to read novels, comics, and science magazines. She would like to be a writer. Mrs. Forbes, Cici's former teacher, is now a local author. Mrs. Forbes begins to mentor Cici with meet-ups and suggested writing exercises to fuel Cici's burgeoning interest.

    Mrs. Forbes recommends that Cici start with a personal diary or journal. She is encouraged to observe people, imagine their lives, guess their innermost feelings, then create an adventure for them. First, however, one must conduct an inv

    Cici loves to read novels, comics, and science magazines. She would like to be a writer. Mrs. Forbes, Cici's former teacher, is now a local author. Mrs. Forbes begins to mentor Cici with meet-ups and suggested writing exercises to fuel Cici's burgeoning interest.

    Mrs. Forbes recommends that Cici start with a personal diary or journal. She is encouraged to observe people, imagine their lives, guess their innermost feelings, then create an adventure for them. First, however, one must conduct an investigation.

    Mrs. Forbes explains that a writer must gather the facts, conduct interviews, then search for clues trying to find a lead, perhaps, something unexpected. Cici, with the help of friends and cohorts Erica and Lena, become sleuths. Cici records her observations in her journal, draws picture clues, lists the character traits of her two friends and discusses the spin she will concoct to get Mom's approval to conduct her queries. The tome consists of two tales. Every Sunday, an old man disappears into the woods with his parrot Captain Flint. He carries two heavy paint cans. Later, he returns covered in paint. In the second tale, an old lady visits the local library every week requesting the same book. Why doesn't she just buy the book? Cici will look for clues to discover the real person inside each of these characters.

    Through the use of journal entries, drawings and newspaper clippings, alternating with a comic book presentation of Cici's interaction with her mom, Mrs. Forbes and friends Erica and Lena, the reader will catch a glimpse of the power of observation and the tricks involved in storytelling. Author Chamblain touches upon the importance of maintaining friendships and being truthful and forthright to parents and teachers.

    "Cici's Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-In-Training" was a most enjoyable read. Author Joris Chamblain and illustrator Aurelie Neyret have created a magical learning experience for middle school readers and budding writers.

    Thank you First Second Books and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "Cici's Journal".

  • Amanda

    Oh my, I loved this! I could tell it would be my type of book when I read the dedication "to the little hidden message that slept for fifty years in a treasure chest, before a little boy could discover it..." Makes me want to leave secret messages for my descendants to find, I love this kind of stuff! Plus Cici is an aspiring writer who ferrets out the mysteries around her like Harriet the Spy, and the second story involves a library and secrets from the past. It felt a little like

    Oh my, I loved this! I could tell it would be my type of book when I read the dedication "to the little hidden message that slept for fifty years in a treasure chest, before a little boy could discover it..." Makes me want to leave secret messages for my descendants to find, I love this kind of stuff! Plus Cici is an aspiring writer who ferrets out the mysteries around her like Harriet the Spy, and the second story involves a library and secrets from the past. It felt a little like

    for kids!

    The art is so so pretty, with beautiful colors and picturesque landscapes of Cici's French village and countryside. The overall page layouts are very well-done, with innovative paneling and a mix of scrapbook and (drawn) photos giving it a handmade look. My favorite pieces are the chapter title pages, gorgeous summations of each story in one color theme.

    It also made me so happy to be a librarian! I was practically bawling reading the story that revolved around a library book, it was so beautiful. 😭 (The young librarian in this was also my retro style ideal for the profession--such cute outfits and hair!) I sincerely hope First Second will continue to publish the other volumes of this French treasure, or I may need to try tackling the foreign editions with my rusty language skills!

  • Darcy Roar

    A lovely set of mysteries for kids. Cici is a feisty and fun character with plenty of rough edges to explore. Her friends tend to get drug along on mystery solving expeditions whether they like it or not which leads to some infighting & character growth opportunities. The Cici/Mom relationship is frustrating but feels real. If the series continues I hope we'll get to see more of their relationship as it shifts and grows (& maybe some back story?). The art is super cute & looks fantas

    A lovely set of mysteries for kids. Cici is a feisty and fun character with plenty of rough edges to explore. Her friends tend to get drug along on mystery solving expeditions whether they like it or not which leads to some infighting & character growth opportunities. The Cici/Mom relationship is frustrating but feels real. If the series continues I hope we'll get to see more of their relationship as it shifts and grows (& maybe some back story?). The art is super cute & looks fantastic in the comic sections & the letters and Cici's illustrations in the other bits help connect you to Cici and understand her thoughts nicely. Perfect for the young detective in your life or anyone looking for a beautifully illustrated little mystery.

  • Melki

    Cici is a young, would-be writer who loves to solve mysteries . . . very mild mysteries like where does that man go everyday with all those paint cans, and why does the old lady keep checking the same book out of the library. I'm guessing some readers will find this rather dull, but I was hooked.

    This was translated from a French series, and the artwork has a charming, very European feel to it.

    Most enjoyable.

  • Lola  Reviewer

    3.5 stars.

    A lovely book for young readers.

    The illustrations are incredible. Actually, it’s the colouring that makes them so exceptional. If they had been in black and white, they would still have been charming, but not this admirable, so the colours the colourist used made all the difference here.

    Cici wants to become a writer, because she loves stories. She especially loves to find stories in people she doesn’t know—people she describes as being ‘‘mysterious’’. She’s a young detective, but with

    3.5 stars.

    A lovely book for young readers.

    The illustrations are incredible. Actually, it’s the colouring that makes them so exceptional. If they had been in black and white, they would still have been charming, but not this admirable, so the colours the colourist used made all the difference here.

    Cici wants to become a writer, because she loves stories. She especially loves to find stories in people she doesn’t know—people she describes as being ‘‘mysterious’’. She’s a young detective, but without the dangerous, reckless side.

    There are two ‘‘mystery’’ cases in this graphic novel, as it combines the first two volumes in the Les Carnets de Cerise series, translated from French. The first one is the best. It is so unexpected and heart-warming that I have to applaud it. The second one, however, is less so. While still charming, it felt like the type of story I’ve heard many times before.

    And I couldn’t process why the sad old lady didn’t just buy a copy of the book. Seems to me like she wouldn’t have to take the bus so often or worry about the book ever leaving her side.

    It has a ‘‘young vibe,’’ that’s undeniable. I was bothered by the role Cici’s friends played, and so were they by the way. Your friends shouldn’t exist as planets to your sun. It shouldn’t be all about Cici, but it is. Cici and her mystery cases, that is.

    On the other hand, Cici is adventurous, creative, smart, warm and determined, qualities worth recognizing. She made the story interesting, because she herself was interested in the world around her and looked at it in a unique light.

    So I enjoyed it, but I am expecting more teamwork in the future. After all, even the best of writers collaborate, don’t they? And if her friends don’t want to jump into her adventures all the time, perhaps she could meet someone who shares this passion of hers?

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  • cookiemonger

    The art is lovely and it’s a nice idea, but overall it lacks substance. The writing is only ‘okay’ and it manages to take a pretty basic premise and deliver a muddy execution.

    While reading, I couldn’t help wondering who this book is for. There are some things that seem like they might relate to girls this age in general, but they don’t go deep enough to hit the mark. Difficulty getting along with parents? Cici lies to her mother for no reason beyond a frustratingly vague “It’s too hard to talk t

    The art is lovely and it’s a nice idea, but overall it lacks substance. The writing is only ‘okay’ and it manages to take a pretty basic premise and deliver a muddy execution.

    While reading, I couldn’t help wondering who this book is for. There are some things that seem like they might relate to girls this age in general, but they don’t go deep enough to hit the mark. Difficulty getting along with parents? Cici lies to her mother for no reason beyond a frustratingly vague “It’s too hard to talk to her” that explains nothing. So lazy. Fighting with friends? Her friends (eventually) express unhappiness with the disgraceful way Cici treats them, their attempts to make up are rebuffed, and yet she reconciles in a token effort a few pages from the end. There’s no reason to side with Cici, and this kind of story really needs some bond between reader and protagonist.

    The book doesn’t seem to be for aspiring young writers, either. Unless maybe they’re aspiring to be investigative journalists. Cici spies on people, lies to them, enlists others to lie for her, and keeps a journal. But the word ‘journalist’ isn’t used, so I’m going to assume that isn’t the intention. I picked this up thinking she wanted to be a novelist. She doesn’t act like she even reads novels. In fact, Cici doesn’t seem to have much of an imagination. She also never writes anything but her journal, and (supposedly) writing exercises given to her by the actual writer character Mrs Flores.

    For me, the major giveaway that Cici doesn’t actually want to be a novelist was when Mrs Flores took inspiration from Cici’s first adventure and wrote and published a novel based on those events. Cici’s reaction was to be honoured. Didn’t Cici want to write it? Wouldn’t that have been the point of investigating her mystery? Is she just a nosy person who digs into the painful pasts of the elderly because she doesn’t have any other hobbies?

    It’s a shame, because the book looks fantastic. The art style is beautiful and full of energy. It imbues the characters with personality. The mix of comic panels and a journal with newspaper cutouts, photos, and stylised child drawings is fun to read and looks lovely.

  • Hilary

    I expected to like this more than I did. I liked the idea of an adventurous girl, investigating mysteries and keeping a journal in the hope of becoming a writer. There are two stories in this book, I felt the second story worked better. The graphic novel story parts of the book about Cici didn't seem to fit well with the pages that were her journal.

    I didn't really like the relationship Cici had with her friends, it didn't seem a positive relationship which I agree not all friendships are. I fel

    I expected to like this more than I did. I liked the idea of an adventurous girl, investigating mysteries and keeping a journal in the hope of becoming a writer. There are two stories in this book, I felt the second story worked better. The graphic novel story parts of the book about Cici didn't seem to fit well with the pages that were her journal.

    I didn't really like the relationship Cici had with her friends, it didn't seem a positive relationship which I agree not all friendships are. I felt slightly uncomfortable about some of the storyline about Cici and her mother. Several times Cici, lies to her mum about where she is going so she can go to lonely places to investigate odd happenings, she also gets her friends to lie about her whereabouts as she is putting herself in potentially dangerous situations that her mum wouldn't let her be in if she knew. I wondered if this was a good thing to portray in a story about a 10 yr old which will be read by similar aged girls?

  • Harker

    Cici dreams of being a famous writer someday, a novelist maybe! To start out, though, she's practicing by journaling like a reporter and finding mysteries in her small town.

    The construction of the book was a fun amalgamation of comic book panels, handwritten journal entries, and photographs. Since this was an arc there were some panels that were harder to see than others, such as the photographs, but the general layout gave a good impression of what the book would look like in its final form. Ne

    Cici dreams of being a famous writer someday, a novelist maybe! To start out, though, she's practicing by journaling like a reporter and finding mysteries in her small town.

    The construction of the book was a fun amalgamation of comic book panels, handwritten journal entries, and photographs. Since this was an arc there were some panels that were harder to see than others, such as the photographs, but the general layout gave a good impression of what the book would look like in its final form. Neyret's artwork was very bright in it's panels, eye catching and soft around the edges. My favorite scenes were the library panels from the second story. There was a magical quality to the different sections of the library, from the children's shelves to the history section.

    As for the characters, Cici was difficult to like as a main character. As good as a spy as she thought she was, her skills of observation needed a lot of work. She wasn't trustworthy either, constantly lying to her mother and her friends and never suffering any consequences for those actions (another thing that frustrated me - Cici never got in trouble for anything).

    Erica, one of Cici's best friends, seemed like the voice of reason in their small group. While Cici badmouthed her quite a bit, saying nearly every time she spoke about Erica that all she did was complain, Erica had good reason to say the things she did about Cici. How she kept asking them to lie, how she needed them as cover stories, things like that. I understood why she got angry at Cici and why they finally fought near the end of the book.  

    Cici doesn't always have the best decision making skills. Her friendship with Ms. Flores at the onset of the book from Cici's perspective is a close one, but in her own words she doesn't know much about Ms. Flores, her mother doesn't like that she hangs out with her so much, and she has to lie to her mother about the amount of time she spends at the Flores house. That struck me as really strange, especially since this book seems to take place in the present. I think the story as a whole, from the zoo in the first story onward, would have worked better in an earlier time period, perhaps in that of Kit the American Girl or Harriet the Spy. The liberties of their time periods would have melded better 

    There was something about Cici's voice that I found hard to really like. The way that she communicated throughout her journal entries, the way she thought, these passages all sounded like the way an adult thought a ten-year-old child would say things or think things rather than the way such a child would actually say or think. Her voice, the writing behind it, wasn't wholly believable. It wasn't a painful interpretation, but it wasn't as good as it could have been.

    Cici's Journal might be suited to a young crowd that won't pick at the story lines as I have or character building, but I'm not sure they'll be wholly satisfied with the characters having little to no consequences and disregard for friendships.

  • First Second Books

    Cici dreams of being a novelist. Her favorite subject: people, especially adults. She’s been watching them and taking notes. Cici’s Journal is interwoven with journal notes, scrapbook pieces, and doodles, Cici assembles clues about the odd and wonderful people she’s uncovered, even as she struggles to understand the mundane: her family and friends.

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