Squirrel Do Bad (Trubble Town, #4)Featured
Wendy the Wanderer has lived in Trubble Town her whole life but never had the chance to go exploring. For this reason, she thinks she was definitely misnamed. Her dad likes to know where she is to make sure she’s safe, so she’s never been anywhere on her own. Then, her dad leaves on a trip and the babysitter doesn’t reinforce all the usual rules. Or any of the usual rules! Suddenly, Wendy is free to do what she wants, and what she wants is to live up to her name…and find Trubble.
Turns out, there’s lots going on in Trubble Town. As she encounters endearingly goofy animals and hilariously hapless townsfolk, Wendy’s very first adventure takes more twists and turns than she could have ever expected. She learns some really valuable life lessons and even teaches a few of her own.
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.