Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Flying Beaver Brothers and the Mud Slinging Moles; Birds Vs. Bunnies by Maxwell Eaton III

Since I got a galley that included both of the next Flying Beaver Brothers books, I'm going to do a double review today. I loved the first Flying Beaver Brother books and I'm SO EXCITED to see more.

First, volume 3, Mud-Slinging Moles! I had to admit, I was a little disappointed by this volume. Ace and Bub are just hanging out on their island when suddenly giant gloppy sink holes start appearing and things begin sinking! They make a journey to see the all-knowing, wise marmot, but he's not much help. Fortunately, they wind up discovering the culprits - confused and confusing moles - and also realize they need to work together as brothers to get things done.

There's nothing wrong with the story, it's just...bland. I'm not sure orange was the best color scheme for the mud-themed adventure and it's not as well laid out as previous stories, so it's kind of confusing. Just kind of meh.

Now the fourth volume, Birds vs. Bunnies, is awesome. Like the first two stories, it's unique and funny. Although the plot of this volume isn't as original as the others, Eaton gives it a fresh spin and his own tongue-in-cheek humor and I giggled my way through with joy.

Bub and Ace think life is great and spending a week on Little Beaver Island relaxing will make it even better. But when they get there, they discover the birds and bunnies are in the middle of a rapidly escalating fight. Are they just too different to ever get along, or is there a mysterious person amping up the tensions?

Several giant mechanical contrivances, a lot of confusion, and one mysterious mastermind later, Bub and Ace have reunited the birds and bunnies and everything is peaceful once more...maybe.

This series is turning quite rainbow-hued and this fourth volume goes all out in the purple department. Although the basic plot isn't particularly unique, it's the clever details and deadpan humor that sets it apart and makes this a hilarious read for kids and grown-ups alike. You wouldn't think it was possible to get subtleties of expression in the thick lines and blunt art of Eaton's style, but it's amazing how much he can express with just a turn of the head and a few panels.

Verdict: While the Mud Slinging Moles was a bit disappointing, Birds vs. Bunnies more than makes up for it and you'll want to collect the whole series. It's a great beginning chapter book series for emergent and beginning readers with it's simple art and text, but the subtle humor will make older kids and even adults enjoy reading these over and over again and giggling every time. A great addition to the solid color, small format graphic line that includes Babymouse, Lunch Lady, Squish, and B. C. Mambo.

Mud-Slinging Moles
ISBN: 9780449810194; Published July 2013 by Alfred A. Knopf/Random House; ARC provided by publisher at ALA Annual 2013; Purchased for the library

Birds vs. Bunnies
ISBN: 9780449810224; Published July 2013 by Alfred A. Knopf/Random House; ARC provided by publisher at ALA Annual 2013; Purchased for the library

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