Review Detail

A Cool Yet Positive Role Model of Behavior
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
In this beginning graphic novel series, we meet Duck, a sunglass wearing, water loving avian who has a great day planned with his animal friends. They're "shredding it up" at the skatepark, playing games at the arcade, and riding their bikes down the sledding hill. There, they meet Cool Cat, who is dismissive of the other's accomplishments, and ignores everyone's well being when he shows off his own tricks. They go back to the arcade for pizza, where Cat takes Duck's pizza without asking, and when the group goes to the woods near the creek to do tricks on the rope swing, Duck can no longer stand Cat's braggadocio. He goes home, where his grandfather asks him what's wrong. Eventually, his friends realize he is missing, and when Cat gets stuck up in a tree because he climbs too high, the group finds Duck because he will know what to do. He saves Cat, who is nice enough to apologize for being "a not-so-nice crumbbum". Duck and his friends get up to more adventures in Far-out Fort and Summer Games.

Good Points
I love the format of this; it's roughly the size of the hardcover I Can Read Books that my children were obsessed with leading up to kindergarten. The font is bigger than graphic novels for older readers, and the text fairly simple. The big difference between it and the I Can Read Books is that the pages have color edge-to-edge and the text is presented in speech or thought bubbles. The extensive use of ink on quality paper does mean that this has a particular smell, and the book is oddly heavy for its size.

While I'm not sure that children hang out at arcades, and I'm a little alarmed that the children are riding bikes down steep hills (I've done this; it doesn't always end well, and none of the friends are wearing helmets), young readers will love the animals' freedom to travel around and do "big kid" things. Cat is rather obnoxious, and Duck's reaction is definitely one that many readers will relate to. I do like the positive interaction when Cat sees the error of his ways and apologizes. Picture books and early graphic novels are so important to teaching children best practices for behavior.

We're seeing more and more beginning level graphic novels, and I'm sure they are a popular choice with the first and second grade set. Add this to great titles like Stromoski's Schnozzer and Tatertoes, Pizzoli's Baloney and Friends, Clanton's Narwal and Jelly, Braddock's Peanut, Butter, and Jelly, Keating's BunBun and BonBon,or Blabey's Bad Guys.
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