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

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...

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

  • Allison

    This was a charming and fun read. It's highly appealing to school-age students since journals/diaries are all the rage right now. It's the perfect amount of Harriet the Spy meets Amelia's Notebooks. It was enjoyable and I loved how each story wrapped up with a happy ending for the 'mysterious' people Cici sleuthed on.

  • Becky

    Cici's Journal is a gem of a graphic novel about a young aspiring author who is taking notes on the world under advisement of a local adult author who has taken Cici under her wing. As Cici keeps her journal, she stumbles upon 2 mysteries which she then investigates with her two best friends. Their journeys lead Cici to solve two heart-warming mysteries about an elderly painter and a lonely widow that elementary/early middle school kids will really enjoy.

    Viewpoint goes back and forth between Cic

    Cici's Journal is a gem of a graphic novel about a young aspiring author who is taking notes on the world under advisement of a local adult author who has taken Cici under her wing. As Cici keeps her journal, she stumbles upon 2 mysteries which she then investigates with her two best friends. Their journeys lead Cici to solve two heart-warming mysteries about an elderly painter and a lonely widow that elementary/early middle school kids will really enjoy.

    Viewpoint goes back and forth between Cici's journal and traditional graphic novel format that will definitely draw in the girls. Part II also has a second story line of Cici's lying to the people around her as well and gets on the verge of becoming a little preachy, however does teach kids a valuable lesson on how it is important to treat one another with honestly and love. I do wish it was a bit more subtly handled. Overall, a great graphic novel that I will add to my library collection.

    Thanks to Net Galley for the ARC of this book in return for my honest review.

  • Chris

    Review based on a digital copy received via Netgalley.

    Cici is a little girl of about 10-12 who lives with her mother. She has two close friends, Erica and Lena. Together, they have built a clubhouse; it is from this clubhouse that Cici carries out her investigations, with her friends’ help (sometimes willing, sometimes not). Cici longs to be an author and has made friends with a famous author living in her neighborhood. Her mother seems a bit suspicious of everything Cici does, which seems a lit

    Review based on a digital copy received via Netgalley.

    Cici is a little girl of about 10-12 who lives with her mother. She has two close friends, Erica and Lena. Together, they have built a clubhouse; it is from this clubhouse that Cici carries out her investigations, with her friends’ help (sometimes willing, sometimes not). Cici longs to be an author and has made friends with a famous author living in her neighborhood. Her mother seems a bit suspicious of everything Cici does, which seems a little strange. Nevertheless, she encourages Cici’s passion for writing by giving her a journal in which she keeps all of her notes and drawings.

    The first investigation that Cici opens is into a mysterious old man who is seen walking through the woods with paint cans in the mornings, coming back out in the evenings. He is always covered in paint. Where is he going and what is he doing? When Cici and her friends follow him to a tall wall, the mystery deepens. On her own, Cici returns to get to the bottom of this mystery. What she finds is enchanting and heartbreaking all at the same time, but ultimately heartwarming. I think kids will like the helping aspect, in which Cici is able to see a problem, solve it and help someone live a happier life. It is a very empowering message.

    The second investigation is into an old lady who always checks out the same book from the library. There is a bit of the unrealistic going on in this section. First, there is a check out card for the book, which seems a bit odd in this day and age, especially since there is a thin computer monitor on the check out desk. Second, the librarian talks to Cici about the lady and how often she borrow the book, etc., which is against the rules in libraries. Of course, this is a mystery story, and in all mysteries, rules get broken all the time!

    When Cici has a falling out with her friends, her mother is concerned and her author friend (Mrs. Flores) tries to help. Cici seems to forget her friends when she’s in the midst of a mystery, something that is difficult for her friends. She shuts her mother out, often lying to her so that she can continue her investigations. It is Mrs. Flores that helps her figure out what is important.

    While Cici’s mysteries seem to involve meddling in the lives of others, her heart is in the right place, and in the end, her efforts always seem to help those being investigated in some way. But in the end, it is herself that needs saving. She has closed herself off from others, and is only now beginning to realize the ramifications of those actions. She begins to open herself up to others in a way that is both difficult and gratifying. I think kids will understand and empathize with Cici’s journey and find of bit of themselves in the story.

    The illustrations are great. I love how they alternate between Cici’s Journal and the story itself. The journal looks like a kid’s work, with great little drawings and descriptions of things that show how Cici is really feeling. The story itself is told through beautiful, full color panels. The characters really shine.

  • Becky B

    This book actually includes two stories. I’ll review them separately.

    “The Petrified Zoo”

    ****

    Cici and her friends notice a man coming and going from the woods with paint all over him. Cici can’t let this mystery go. Eventually she finds out what the man is up to

    and recruits others to help which changes several lives for the better.

    A sweet and moving story. I love how Cici mobilizes kids and then even adults to

    This book actually includes two stories. I’ll review them separately.

    “The Petrified Zoo”

    ****

    Cici and her friends notice a man coming and going from the woods with paint all over him. Cici can’t let this mystery go. Eventually she finds out what the man is up to

    and recruits others to help which changes several lives for the better.

    A sweet and moving story. I love how Cici mobilizes kids and then even adults to help heal an old man’s heart and revitalize a neglected part of the city. It’d be 5 stars if Cici didn’t lie to her mom all the time. Her mom does figure things out, and Cici does mention at the end that she knows they need to talk, but she hasn’t yet.

    “Hector’s Book”

    ****

    Cici gets wrapped up in the mystery of an old woman who takes the bus every Tuesday at 3pm carrying the same book and looking sad. She gets so wrapped up in the case that she ignores her best friends except to use their help and Erica has finally had enough. Cici still doesn’t quite learn her lesson, and it’ll take someone she respects laying things out painfully straight for Cici to see some things she needs to work on personally. But that doesn’t mean she’s giving up on the mystery of the little old lady! She tracks her down to the library and discovers the woman has been checking out a self-published book by Hector Bertelon for numerous years. Cici finds out more about the book, Hector, and the old woman, and comes up with a happy discovery.

    It is about time Cici learned her lesson. Too bad she had to go about it the hard way, but I’m so glad she learned it. The mystery with the old woman has a sweet and tender ending, of the kind that Hallmark likes to turn into movies. I didn’t realize at first that this was originally written in French. It makes a little more sense now why the setting feels European (because it is supposed to be) and why some of the phrases characters use are more British English than American. Overall, a fun middle grade sleuthing adventure with some poignant lessons on how to be an unselfish friend and help others around you.

    Notes on content (based on ARC): No language issues. No sexual content or decency issues. There’s a flashback to WWII with an illustration of a wounded, dying man (very minimal blood), otherwise no violence.

  • Sharon Tyler

    CiCi's Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-in-Training by Joris Chamblain is currently scheduled for release on November 7 2017. 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

    CiCi's Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-in-Training by Joris Chamblain is currently scheduled for release on November 7 2017. 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 huge pots of paint in all sorts of colors. What is he up to? Why does he look so sad when he comes back? In a graphic novel format; 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.

    CiCi's Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-in-Training is part graphic novel and part journal style novel. I think that this combination, along with the solid character work by Chamblain will make this a fun read for middle grade and older readers. Cici is a girl on a mission, she want to learn everything she can about other people's secrets because it will help her learn how to write about people better. I like that she has to deal with friend and family issues, and that most of them feel completely authentic. I enjoyed the mysteries that she solves, and that while she might complicate her relationships in the process, she works to make them better and still grow as a person, and a friend. Her fears, and need to ferret out the hidden details of the world around her spoke to me, a stubborn researcher that cannot let go of a question until I find an answer. I think the art style is lovely, although some of the pages did not come over correctly in the digital galley I read, so I assume that the final version reads even better than the copy I read. This was a great read all around, and I think it will find a dedicated fan base. I only fear for the parents and teachers that will deal with readers that might start emulating Cici's detecting drive, but am hopeful for those that might take the idea of writing themselves to heart.

    CiCi's Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-in-Training is a book that made me smile. It reminded me of Harriet the Spy in the best of ways, and still felt new and fresh. I think this will appeal to a number of readers.

  • 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.

  • 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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  • Stephanie Tournas

    Cici, who wants to be an author, tells her journal all about the people she observes. She likes to figure out people's lives and solve the mystery of what is behind what she sees. So, this graphic novel's framework is a narrative journal, which is fleshed out by graphic illustration. Two stories, taking place in her little village, involve investigation of mysterious grownups, while trying to get her friends to join her and her mother to give her the freedom to explore. Cici is propelled by curi

    Cici, who wants to be an author, tells her journal all about the people she observes. She likes to figure out people's lives and solve the mystery of what is behind what she sees. So, this graphic novel's framework is a narrative journal, which is fleshed out by graphic illustration. Two stories, taking place in her little village, involve investigation of mysterious grownups, while trying to get her friends to join her and her mother to give her the freedom to explore. Cici is propelled by curiosity, and it doesn't always mesh with her friends' expectations. It's great that her friends include a brown-skinned girl. I like that the real problem of this particular age (10-12 yrs) is what and how much to tell your parents, while feeling the power of adolescent confidence. Stellar graphic art with the most appealing luminous colors add warmth and intimacy. I hope to see more of this author and illustrator. I also liked the French village setting


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