by Kevin Sherry
School is back in session at Seaweed Elementary in this second installment of the series, Squidding Around. 2, Class Clown Fish. In this tale, Squizzard, a sprightly Humboldt squid, is up to his old tricks. He is sent to Principal Kraken’s office after a raucous classroom prank. Squizzard is assigned a detention shift every day after school, cleaning out the basement for upcoming club fair meetings. What? Every day? He’ll miss the school’s Coral Carnival! The next day, Toothy, a great white shark in blue jeans, tells Squizzard all about the fun he is missing out on. Squizzard is jealous, but during detention he finds an old school newsletter that was printed on an ancient copy machine. This discovery gives the budding comic artist ideas that develop into a new after-school opportunity.
In this graphic novel, a variety of techniques will keep new readers engaged with this screwball sea story. Sherry’s splash pages, multiple-panel sequences, captions, and onomatopoeic words blend well for clear story and panel flow. The palette is bold. Story panels are depicted in flat colors with textured backgrounds, and panels containing facts about marine animal facts are rendered with color shadowing for more realistic effects. At the end of the book, a shoal of sea creatures show kids how to create their own newsletter or book.
VERDICT: this is a fin-tastic graphic reader with plenty of laughs, along with solid insights into feelings, friends, and personal initiative. Recommended for grades 2-5.
Review by Rita, Children’s Librarian