Saturday, August 27, 2011

Advanced Comic Reading: The Unsinkable Walker Bean

Just when I started to feel confident about my comic reading, I found myself stumbling through my copy of the Cybils Graphic Novel (Middle Grade) finalist The Unsinkable Walker Bean by Aaron Renier.  To start my problems from the end, it never occurred to me until the last page that the story would have more than one volume, so I was gobsmacked at the cliff hanger.  The fifth grader and seventh grader laughed at my confusion; they had figured out much earlier that the pacing was all wrong for a single book.

They had no problems reading straight through; several times I had to back up to see what had happened to whom.  Never mind that the three main kids looked completely different; I still got confused.  And I had to ask the fifth grader to explain what the deal was with the pirate captain.  The story was complicated and fast-paced, the art was colorful and eye-catching, and the whole thing made me feel almost fifty years old.  Which, you know, I am, but usually reading kidlit keeps me young, not pushes me up and over the hill.  This is apparently a book aimed at the graphic novel reader, which I managed to read but that gives even more to those who understand the pages better.

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