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".

  • 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.

  • Schizanthus

    I feel like cheating with this review and just telling you to check out the review

    wrote, which you can find here:

    . Thank you Lola for already articulating so well what I wanted to say. 😊

    So, onto my ramble.

    I quite liked the stories of Mr Mysterious in Part One and Ms Mysterious in Part Two. The initially unseen depth of their sweet but sad stories were unexpected, although to be completely honest I felt Cici had no business playing Nancy Drew and int

    I feel like cheating with this review and just telling you to check out the review

    wrote, which you can find here:

    . Thank you Lola for already articulating so well what I wanted to say. 😊

    So, onto my ramble.

    I quite liked the stories of Mr Mysterious in Part One and Ms Mysterious in Part Two. The initially unseen depth of their sweet but sad stories were unexpected, although to be completely honest I felt Cici had no business playing Nancy Drew and interfering in their lives in the first place.

    I loved Cici’s inquisitive nature but wasn’t a fan of the sneaky way she went about her investigations. I loved that she cares about people and wants to help once she solves their ‘mystery’ and understands what she can do to help (not that she was asked to help in the first place) but I hated that she spends the rest of her time lying to her mother and using her friends.

    Because Cici is so Cici-centric all we know about one of her friends until the very end is that they are a whinger. Seriously, would you want to be friends with someone who can only describe you as a complainer, even if they’re right? It’s not that I hated Cici. A lot of the time I found her endearing and sweet but she really irritated me too. Thankfully she does learn lessons along the way about the way she’s treated her friends and mother.

    My brain went a little nutty during the first story when all of the kids are lying to their parents and sneaking off to go hang out in the middle of the bush with a strange old man. Granted, he was a lovely but sad old man and I doubt he would slap a mosquito actively draining all of his blood. He could’ve been a creepy old man though. I know it’s just a story but my adult brain is practically hyperventilating (no, I don’t know how that’s physically possible either) at the thought of sending a message that it’s okay to lie to your parents to secretly meet a stranger in a remote location! Nuttiness aside, I adored the old man in the first story. He was an absolute sweetheart.

    Naturally I loved that the scene of the second ‘mystery’ was the local library. Woohoo! Cici manages to solve Ms Mysterious’ mystery the first time she checked out the book that Ms Mysterious has been checking out every week for many years (of course). There’s no romantic hiding in the depths of my icy cold heart but I admit I really liked the love story of Ms Mysterious and her beau.

    The illustrations were gorgeous and I loved the soft warm colours used throughout the book. The layout was really well done, with layers showing crayons, pencils (with pencil shavings) and pens laying on top of pages in Cici’s journal that made it seem as though the reader is peeking over her shoulder at the page she’s working on. She’s also pasted in relevant bits and pieces, including postcards from her friends, newspaper articles, letters and photos. The creativity of telling the story through graphic novel format interspersed with journal entries and drawings makes this visually a really interesting book.

    I wouldn’t mind revisiting this book again in a few months. I wonder even as I’m writing this if I’ve been a bit harsh on Cici’s Cici-centricity. I’m interested to know if I’ll find her more endearing and less irritating next time. I hope so because the stories are quite good. I’d probably give the stories alone 3.5 stars but because I loved the illustrations so much I’m rounding up.

  • Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)

    Mystery, friendship, conflict resolution, writing....so much going on (in a good way) with this graphic novel.

  • Lola

    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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