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Unsinkable Walker Bean Volume 1
by Aaron Renier
Published by First Second
Does it sound cheesy if I say this book is perfect for kids age 5 to 105? Cause it really is! The Unsinkable Walker Bean is an unstoppable, rollicking high seas adventure full of codes, inventions, antediluvian intrigues and funny names. There's this "pure joy of drawing" in Aaron's work which loads the panels with sly little details and charming gestures -but nothing feels superfulous- even the silliest elements weave themselves into the plot. The story itself, about returning a cursed skull to two giant sea-hag sisters, champions scrapper ingenuity, resourcefulness and teamwork in a way that's never heavy-handed, it's just plain cool. Refreshing in a similar way is how Walker Bean's world escapes simple hero vs. villain dichotomies, giving every character a heart to the point that you'll even find the fierce, giant mer-witches endearing. The exceptional storytelling is emphasized by Alec Longstreth's (Phase 7) beautiful color work full of crisp ocean blues, kelp-y ochres and my favorite sorts of pale, sea-sick greens. The book is also completely and solidly kid-friendly and that's a big part of it's magic: reading it as an adult stirs up all the youthful thrills and adventures of creative problem-solving. SO GOOD! -EF
200 pages, full-color, 8.5"x11"