Blindspot

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Overview

An evocative graphic novel about a boy growing out of childhood

Dean and his friends have created an entire world in the woods behind their suburban housing development. In their army fantasy, they're at war, and Dean is the daring captain leading his troops through episodes of intrigue and danger.

But no fantasy can last forever. A run-in with a homeless man in the woods snaps the boys back to reality, and ...

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Overview

An evocative graphic novel about a boy growing out of childhood

Dean and his friends have created an entire world in the woods behind their suburban housing development. In their army fantasy, they're at war, and Dean is the daring captain leading his troops through episodes of intrigue and danger.

But no fantasy can last forever. A run-in with a homeless man in the woods snaps the boys back to reality, and little by little the real world pervades their imagined universe and drives them apart.

Award-winning illustrator Kevin C. Pyle makes the popular graphic novel format accessible to middle-grade readers in this skillfully drawn and candidly written book. Blindspot tells the story of one boy's transition from childhood to adolescence in a way that will appeal to children and adults alike.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"With this graphic novel, Kevin Pyle has eloquently mapped out the line between youth and adulthood. He captures pivotal moments of transformation through pitch-perfect dialogue and surprising graphic inventions. Blindspot is everything that is great and unique about this art form." —Peter Kuper, author/artist of Sticks and Stones
Publishers Weekly

Pyle (Lab U.S.A.) uses the graphic novel format to powerful effect as he explores a boy's coming of age. Dean Tollridge and his friends love "playing army," running missions through the woods behind their houses and combating imaginary Nazis. But reality invades the thoughtful boy's fantasy milieu (an accidental library discovery of what the Holocaust really looked like; a lengthy and harrowing encounter with a homeless vet) and suddenly playtime takes on an unwelcome gravity. Pyle uses color as a brilliant storytelling tool: blues and browns for the real world, camouflage greens and browns for make-believe war scenes, and vivid flashes of full color in moments of strong emotion. What is remarkable is how much of the story lives in the pictures that are not drawn, the words that are not said. From a book of relatively few pages and minimal dialogue emerges a very robust set of characters, right down to the conflicted parents whose concern for their child unfolds in minimalist conversations of doubt and best intentions. This is a very smart and humane graphic novel that, by the sheer force of its narrow focus, resonates with a broad emotional range. Ages 9-12. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

Gr 6-9
About to move to a new home, Dean reminisces about his experiences playing soldiers in the woods behind his house with three neighborhood friends until an encounter with a homeless man changed everything. He recounts his initiations into the group, and the problems he had with authority at home and at school, occasionally representing situations in the style of classic four-color war comics. The story is organized in a series of formalized chapters, with grand headings and title pages that give the impression that it is more of an anthology comic than a series of connected vignettes. The color work is lovely throughout, especially the way it re-creates vintage war comics. The line work, however, is done in the rough, impressionistic manner characteristic of many independent and art comics, and may not appeal to readers looking for the clean, hyperrealistic depictions in more commercial comics. In particular, the main characters, while of an indeterminate age, are clearly supposed to be young, but don't immediately strike one as so-particularly the elongated faces of Dean and his friend John. More problematic is the central revelation of the main character, which, while doing a good job of tying together the various vignettes, doesn't successfully sell itself as the natural result of the circumstances. This could well be due to the jumbled agelessness of the characters, as one isn't quite convinced that Dean is old enough to really have an epiphany of this depth and eloquence.
—Benjamin RussellCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
"Is it possible to know something but not see what it is yet?" So writes Dean, the young narrator of this episodic graphic novel, as he records such slice-of-life episodes as playing "soldier" with a trio of new neighbors in a wooded patch near his home, losing a playground fight, meeting a mercurial homeless man and overhearing his parents worriedly discussing his bad attitude at school. Pyle designs his pages with a variety of large sequential and inset panels, using colors to signal both narrative divisions and general mood; the ordinary world is cast in a drab olive green, for instance, bursting into full, comics-style color for fantasized battles. In contrast to the simply drawn figures, which are sometimes hard to tell apart, the author tracks Dean's groping progress-out of childhood and into something that's not quite maturity but definitely headed that way-indirectly, with a subtlety that will engage more reflective readers. A coming-of-age tale of the more introspective sort. (Graphic fiction. 12-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805079982
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 4/28/2007
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 11 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.48 (w) x 11.07 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin C. Pyle's work has appeared in The Village Voice, The New York Times, and The New Yorker. His docu-comic, Lab U.S.A., won a Silver Medal for Sequential Art from the Society of Illustrators. Kevin lives in New Jersey, not quite as close to the woods as he would like.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 8, 2013

    The Blindspot is a graphic novel written by Kevin C. Pyle about

    The Blindspot is a graphic novel written by Kevin C. Pyle about a young boy named Dean. Like most young boys dean enjoys playing soldiers and when he moves to a new house where the woods meet his backyard Dean finds a group of boys to reenact WWII with. While Dean escapes the reality of school and parental rules for his make believe battles in the woods life comes crashing down on him when a encounter with the town hermit sends him into the real world and the trials that exist there. Kevin C. Pyle takes the traditional coming of age story and paints it into a neatly woven tale. The graphics are styed much like his work for The New York Times however, some frames appear to have come from an old military comic and add depth to the story. Overall the illustrations are very successful in telling the story however; on occasion the characters look to be much older than school age children. The graphic novel is organized into sections raging from one to nine pages. The sections jump around a lot and do not give a clear timeline for events.  Once or twice I became lost while reading but it did not take very long to get back into the storyline. The ending of the story rounds of any loose ends and leaves you feeling satisfied as a reader. Kevin C. Pyle does a fantastic job as an author in his choice of characters. We can find the classic figures form our own memories as a child in his story the bully, the older role model, the town outsider, and the concerned parents. His characters add a sense of nostalgia that makes the novel enjoyable to read. I believe that this novel will appeal and relate to middle school age boys and adults.  

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