I loved CHIGGERS, another of Hope Larson's graphic novels. Now in MERCURY (Atheneum, 2009), Larson crosses two stories of one family separated by generations but connected to the land. In 1859, Josey falls in love with a stranger who appears at the farmhouse door offering to help her father find gold on his land. In present day, Tara's house has burnt down and she is forced to live with her aunt and uncle while her mother finds employment away from home. She discovers an old necklace, one that belonged to her great-great-great grandmother, a keepsake from that same stranger who came to the farm a century and a half ago. This pendant might just change the luck of the Fraser family.
The two stories interrupt and intertwine, moving seamlessly from the 1800s to contemporary time. I think that teachers could use this book to show how time shifts in a concrete way before moving readers to a more abstract situation. But in terms of reading for pleasure, this is a book that should appeal to male and female readers. What I admire about Larson is her ability to tell a story and create characters with spare words but multiple layers in her illustrations.