Blue, Barry, & Pancakes – written and illustrated by Daniel Rajai Abdo and Jason Linwood Patterson, First Second, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press, 9781250255556, 2021
Blue, Barry, & Pancakes: Escape from Balloonia – written and illustrated by Daniel Rajai Abdo and Jason Linwood Patterson, First Second, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press, 9781250255563, 2021
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Genre: Adventure/Fantasy (Graphic Novel)
What did you like about the book? Blue, a worm, Barry, a frog, and Pancakes, a rabbit, are great friends who live together and (usually) get along. Each character has a distinct personality, making it difficult for them to always see eye-to-eye. While this can spell trouble at first, the trio finds a solution, talks about how each of them handled the situation, and are always sure to apologize. The adventures in between these steps are easy to follow, fast-paced, and uproariously funny for young readers. This formula is utilized well in the first two books, providing great examples for conflict resolution and behavior while keeping attention through outlandish scenarios and silly dialog.
The illustrations of Dan and Jason’s graphic novels are highly colorful and full of action lines as characters and objects jet around. In addition to touting the benefits of talking about your problems, these first two installments feature other skill-building focuses that will stealthily get kids excited about STEM. Book one has a rollicking journey that has plenty of silly cause-and-effect scenes as well as a map in the back so kids can follow their adventure more succinctly. Book two has a great focus on engineering and creative problem solving alongside some awesome teamwork. The text is accessible, making this great for even emerging readers.
Overall, Blue, Barry, and Pancakes are sure to charm both caregivers and kids with their stories of humor and friendship.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No.
To whom would you recommend this book? These titles are great for emerging readers as the supporting illustrations and simple dialog make these comparable to some early reader texts. This series will be great for those reading at a K+ level and will likely appeal to kids through grade 3. Hand this to those who love silly stories like Fenske’s Nuts series or Scholastic’s Acorn Readers, but are ready for more of a challenge.
Who should buy this book? Libraries in the market for graphic novels that read at an “early reader” or a “chapter book” level.
Where would you shelve it ? J Graphic Novels
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA
Date of review: May 24, 2021