Smile – a LOT of reviews!

Published On July 15, 2012 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, Comics For Children

Smile is a wonderful graphic novel by American author Raina Telgemeier. It tells a tale of a young girl who suffers a terrible accident, and loses her two front teeth. It’s the start of a long and painful journey of dentists, braces, surgery, headgear, all to get her smile working properly again.

But, as the boys and girls at school have found out, it’s about so much more than that. It’s one of those books that speaks so clearly to its audience, and everyone reading it finds something of their own lives in its pages; friendship issues, the trials and tribulations of growing up, new schools, and so much more.

It proved so popular in the graphic novel library that Mr Bruton had to buy a second copy, then a third, a fourth, a fifth, and a sixth! It’s the most popular graphic novel in the library, and amongst the top 5 of all loans in the library. But amazingly, it’s not really available for our children to walk into their local book shop or comic shop and buy off the shelves. Scholastic UK simply don’t think there’s a market for it. 

I asked our children at school…… they disagree….

Review by Hazel (Year 6)

Smile is a really good book because it is all about a girl who has to have braces after she loses her two front teeth in a horrible accident. It is a true story and when I read it I could rally believe that everything Raina showed me was completely real.  After a while you feel like you get to know Raina and the other people in the book. I started to read Smile and I just couldn’t put it down.

Review by Mia (Year 6)

Smile is one of my favourite books! I thought it had a really good story and I liked the illustrations inside. I couldn’t stop reading it when I had started.

Review by Emily (Year 6)

I like the way that Smile is a true story about a problem that many children have to face at some point. I also found it a bit shocking and sad when I read about the accident and what Raina had to go through afterwards. It raises awareness of the problems you can go through if you have to wear braces.

Review by Maisie (Year 5)

I really enjoyed the book Smile because it was really good to read, and I was really shocked and upset for Raina when I saw her fall over and knock her teeth out! Ouch!.

Review by Holly (Year 5)

Smile is a lovely, and true story of Raina’s life, after she loses her two front teeth in an accident. You follow her on a really frustrating (for her) journey with so many different dentist visits, braces, weird headgear, elastics, even a retainer with fake teeth attached! I so loved this book that I couldn’t put it down! It’s amazing!

Review by Lily (Year 5)

Raina just wants to be a normal girl, but one day after a Girl Scout meeting, she has a horrible accident that makes her front two teeth come out. The scene where this happens is really exciting and scary, and pretty horrible. I certainly wouldn’t like it to happen to me! She has to have a lot of different braces, with all kinds of attachments, and wires, and bands – and I felt really sorry for her. I loved Smile and thought it was really good and dealt with some common problems in a very thoughtful way.

Review by Nick (Year 5)

It is a very good book and one of the best I’ve read so far. I like it because it’s funny, and it’s interesting to read about all of the problems caused by Raina’s one small trip.

Review by Rosie (Year 6)

Smile is a really good book because the pictures are really clear and detailed. I especially loved it when her friends gave Raina a deliberately horrible makeover! Smile is one of those books you have to read again and again. I have checked out Smile from the school library several times and it is definitely one of my top 3 books. I positively, definitely think Smile should be published in Britain.

Review by Eady (Year 5)

I really enjoyed Smile because it was funny, and I found myself gigglng many times all the way through reading it. The pictures really stand out and tell Raina’s story really well. I think this is the best book I’ve ever read. My favourite bit is when Raina gets her ears pierced shortly after she gets her first lot of braces. Her mom’s not sure, but Raina convinces her saying that she “didn’t really want the braces… but I want earrings”. It’s great seeing her grow up in the pages of the book, all the way to being a teen and going to High School, she even falls in love for a while!

Review by Kade (Year 5)

I think Smile was a dramatic and thrilling story – they even had an earthquake in it! I think it is a funny story and I’d recommend it to other people to read.

Review by Natalie (Year 5)

I really liked this book because it was funny, sad, and it had a really happy ending. I thought that the pictures have great detail and the book really stands out. As soon as I looked at the front cover I knew it was going to be good. The title is perfect for the book, as we get to see Raina having serious teeth problems all the way through, but at the very end, she feels comfortable with her smile again.

Review by James (Year 6)

Smile is a great graphic novel written by, and starring Raina Telgemeier, who tells us the true story of the time she was racing back to her house (when returning from girl scouts) but falls and knocks her two front teeth out. This is a really enjoyable book that contains lots of mouth surgery, lots of painful dental experiences, and a lot of smiling!

Review by Lucy (Year 6)

I liked Smile because it shows the reader that life can be full of challenges and difficulties, and my absolute favourite thing about it is that it’s all true, all of these horrible, painful things really happened to Raina. My favourite character is Raina, not just because she’s really brave about her teeth, but because she stands up to her mean friends in High School and finds some better ones. I think Smile gives out a message that tells girls around the world to make a stand and stand up to those who are mean to you, and never be afraid to move on!

Review by Charlotte (Year 5)

I absolutely love graphic novels, but I’d say Smile is probably one of the best books I have ever read, not just the best graphic novel. It’s very funny all the way through, and my favourite part was the time when her mean friends pulled Raina’s skirt down – very embarrassing, very cruel, but also very funny. But it was all part of the main reason that I enjoyed Smile – the way Raina fights on through all her troubles, and shows us that as long as you believe in yourself and do the right thing you’ll succeed.

Review by Ailie (Year 4)

I think Smile is a very good book. I had it on loan from the library for a long time – but I did read it TWELVE times!! Yes, it’s that good! My favourite part is when Raina makes a new group of friends and has a lot of fun. I felt really sorry for Raina for having to cope with all that treatment for her teeth. It’s the best book I’ve read.

Yes, I think you can say that they all like it! Thanks to everyone for their reviews, especially Year 6! Good luck in your new schools. They’re never as big, or as scary as they seem. You’ll make new friends if you need to, and before you know it you’ll not remember why you were so worried!

And parents, if you do want to treat them to something – you’ll be able to get Smile at any good bookstore, provided they can get books from the US. Because sadly Scholastic UK’s decision that books such as Smile, Jeff Smith’s Bome, Amulet, and many other great Scholastic US graphic novels with huge popularity in America, just wont be as popular over here, means you can’t buy these books in bookstores. Hopefully, the glowing reviews of Smile say otherwise.

Raina Telgemier’s second graphic novel is called Drama and will be released in September. It looks like it will be every bit as popular amongst the pupils at Wilberfoss. Hopefully I’ll be able to buy them through Scholastic UK.

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About The Author

Richard Bruton

– Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he’s written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard’s day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children’s graphic novel library in the country.

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