This week I read What a Team!, by Brigitte Luciani, illustrated by Eve Tharlet, it is #3 in the graphic novel series Mr. Badger and Mrs. Fox. Juvenile Graphic novels can be tricky, they have to be simple and age appropriate, while retaining interest. In many ways this series is everything one could want in a graphic novel series, and yet it lacks something important.
In this series, the vocabulary is easy enough for newly independent readers, just beyond early reader level. Certainly the subject matter is above reproach. This installment features new step-siblings struggling to get along, and balance bossiness, with their new relationships. These struggles play out while the badger and fox children, and their friends, decide to build a boat. The illustrations are lovely water colors that nicely evoke the woods and forest animals.
This said, the tale was extremely confusing, because I couldn’t tell the characters apart. Now, I know that starting with the third book in a series might lead to some confusion, but a reader should be able to distinguish which character is talking, what the character’s names are, and what the relationships are. Admittedly, I’m not a huge graphic novel person, but I was a big series reader in my day. I remember the first chapter of every Babysitter’s Club was going over the back story and introducing the characters. While children like to read series with continuing characters, it is important that they be able to pick up who the characters are and to have this reiterated in each book.
Someday I’d like to read the first two to put them in context, but based on this on volume, I am hesitant to add it to the library’s collection.
Review copy received from Netgalley.