Thursday, June 1, 2017

Sea Creatures in their own words: Reef Madness by Christopher Cazenove, Jytery, Alexandre Amouriq, and Mirabelle

This is a very similar format to another series from Papercutz, Dinosaurs. Like that series, each "story" lasts for about a page with approximately 7 panels. The pages usually show a glimpse of life or a fact about something under the ocean, ending with a joke and sometimes a square of facts about the animal - habitat, endangered status, etc. Towards the end of the book, the storylines shift from informational and light-hearted jokes to more serious discussions of the endangered status of creatures in the ocean, pollution, and the damage caused by humans.

Storylines include the evolution of the icefish, statistics on who's more dangerous - sharks or other creatures - unique properties of starfish, life under the sand on a beach, salmon swimming upstream, and more. The art is a quirky, cartoon style that will be familiar to anyone who enjoys reading European comics. Bug eyes, small print in the speech bubbles, and lots of big noses and long fingers are typical of this style.

These are funny and will appeal to some kids, but they're not my favorite - the small text can be very daunting to readers and the blend of fact and fiction makes it hard for readers to figure out which are interesting facts and which are jokes. In addition, the creators seem fond of a certain type of misogynist joke which irritates me to no end.

Verdict: Certainly not a required addition, but if you have graphic novel readers who just can't get enough, kids who like nonfiction comics, and fans of the European style, it's a reasonable addition to the library.

ISBN: 9781629916613; English edition published 2017 by Papercutz; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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