Thursday, April 21, 2022

Crab & Snail: The Invisible Whale by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Jared Chapman

 Beth Ferry, who previously collaborated with a different illustrator on the sweet beginning graphic novel Fox & Rabbit, repeats the formula for a younger audience with the addition of funny puns and a seaside scene in this new series.

Crab and Salty Snail are BBFs, Best Beach Friends. They live in the surf zone and enjoy thinking deep thoughts, sunny days, and... wait a minute, it's raining! But only on them? With the guidance of Know-it-all Gull and lots of chiming in from the barnacle brothers, Grip and Drip, the two make a new friend - an invisible whale named Isabel.

Chapman's illustrations, mostly in beige, blue, and orange, show a simple beach scene with goggle-eyed blue crab and orange snail interacting with each other and discovering a few small items on the beach or looking out to the calm blue sea.

This is definitely in the Narwhal and Jelly vein of beginning comics with a theme of two friends, often disparate, mild jokes and humor, and Ferry's own gentle philosophical musings. There isn't a coherent plot or raucous humor, two things that signal a book being closer to middle grade than to an early reader.

Verdict: With a plethora of this type of beginning comic available, including series like Narwhal and Jelly, Shelby and Watts, Baloney and friends, Bonbon and Bunbun, and Ferry's own Fox and Rabbit, this is an additional purchase if you have a voracious audience for easy comics but it doesn't significantly stand out from the crowd.

ISBN: 9780062962133; Published March 2022 by Harper Alley; Borrowed from another library in the consortium; Purchased for the library

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