Review Detail

Kids Fiction 125
silly graphic novel for middle grade readers
Overall rating
 
3.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
3.0
SQUIRREL DO BAD is an entertaining graphic novel about the consequences of small actions. The book begins with Wendy the Wanderer, who cannot actually wander due to her strict father, who wants to keep her safe inside and always protected. He worries about everything, so he has found a very attentive babysitter while he is away. However, the babysitter doesn't care about actually watching children and lets Wendy do what she wants.

Wendy decides to get a mooshy, a hot cocoa with tons of marshmallows, which she then shares with a squirrel. The squirrel loves it too much and the sugar makes him go a bit haywire, leading to a car accident, messes, and the blowing up of the mayor's office, allegedly. As he is prosecuted and the town attempts to recover but actually just makes a mess of more things, Wendy also tries to write her wrongs before her father comes back or finds out what she's done.

What I loved: This was an overall entertaining story that felt like a series of vignettes. Most of the story is told through overhead text, rather than speech bubbles, so it felt more like an extended picture book vs a graphic novel. There are definitely lots of silly hijinks and bad choices to be made that are sure to make children in this age group laugh. The chapter titles also brought a lot of humor into the story and added a nice touch.

What left me wanting more: I was a bit troubled by the high number of deaths in the book as well as the frequent use of violence (many characters hitting others with objects or wishing harm). There are also lessons about hiding things from your parents and keeping secrets (Wendy is unable to confess before her father returns and then doesn't have to), that I wish could have been turned into something more positive. In terms of the text, I found the writing to be a bit too much for a graphic novel, as the pictures should be able to speak more for themselves. The illustrations were OK, but the characters were a bit stick-figuresque and not as much was told through the images as I would have liked. The length was also longer than I think the story needed to be, particularly without any clear themes or lessons that I would appreciate when targeted to the middle grade age range.

Final verdict: Overall, SQUIRREL DO BAD is a funny middle grade graphic novel that will make children laugh. I would recommend for older readers who can separate out the ethical problems and bad decision making from the story.
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