Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Space Dumplings

Image result for space dumplinsSpace Dumplins
Craig Thompson
Graphix/Scholastic, 2015  313 pgs.
Grades 3-7
Graphic Novel

Veteran illustrator, Craig Thompson, creates a full-color graphic novel with non-stop action, madcap humor, and hidden depth.  Meet Violet.  She lives in the space equivalent of a trailer park with her space-lumberjack father and clothing designer mother.  After Violet's school is destroyed in a space-whale attack she must go to work with her mother.  Mother gets transferred to the ritzy space center Shell-Tarr, where Violet meets Elliot, a talking chicken-boy who works as a button runner for Mom's pretentious boss.  Through a scavenging run with Dad we meet Zacchaeus, an alien child from an obliterated planet, where Violet obtains a space-bike.  Tragedy strikes as whale diarrhea destroys the trailer park and threatens the whole galaxy.  Meanwhile, Dad leaves on a secret mission for the government, never to return.  Violet and her two unlikely friends escape on the space bike to try to find and rescue Dad.  The journey proves treacherous as the team faces alien attack, whale excrement, and fuel loss, overcoming one obstacle after another with the help of Dad's delinquent buddies.  Finally Violet and friends locate Dad, but can they save him?  And if they do what will become of orphans Zacchaeus and Elliot?  All is revealed by book's end.

Thompson offers a kid-friendly graphic novel for the video game generation.  The action never stops, the slapstick humor never lets up and the characters and story line are original and fresh.  Kids will relate to Violet and appreciate her courage, spunk, and warm heart.  Friends Zacchaeus and Elliot are quirky and cute and provide much comic opportunities.  Not simply an exciting space romp, Thompson cleverly inserts messages pertinent to the kids of today specifically: environmental protection, genetically enhancing consumable poultry, economical discrimination, not judging a book by its cover, and scientific ethics.  Kid's won't care what the agenda is.  They will simply enjoy the quickly moving plot and antics of Violet and her friends.  Both boys and girls will enjoy this book and it will work for all reading levels and ages.  Thompson has set-up more adventures for Violet and company, so hopefully this will be the first in a series. The comic feels a bit busy and frentic at times, but this generation of kids wouldn't want it any other way.

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