Monday, May 16, 2011

Review: Mal and Chad by Stephen McCranie



Publisher Philomel
Release Date 5/11

In the tradition of Calvin and Hobs and the cartoon Jimmy Neutron, Mal is a kid genius that can't seem to stay out of trouble. Jet packs, Rocket Ships and time traveling elevators take up most of the adventures in this volume. Only Mal could parlay a school assignment about what kind of job he would like to grow up to do into so many adventures. First up, a subatomic journey from a vacuum to a sink full of dishes to try out a career in scuba diving!
Chad is the perfect partner in crime. In fact he is usually the encourager of Mal's extreme ideas. It's not really clear if Chad can truly talk or if Mal is imagining it. Especially when Mal attempts to show off Chad's skills at show and tell and gets laughed out of the classroom.
My favorite part of this first volume revolves around the Science Fair . After failing to prove his dogs ability to talk at show and still not sure of what career he wants to pursue Chad suggests Archeology and so the too are off for "The Biggest Bestest Time Ever"! Which includes a journey back in time to the dinosaur age. things go wrong pretty quick as Mal and Chad barely escape from carnivorous dinosaurs. The explosion of the time machine however puts star student Zachary and Mal's crush Megan in danger. It will take all of Mal's genius to protect his friends and return everything to normal.
I really liked Stephen's art and writing. He draws in strong yet clean black and white graphics. He really captures the youthful energy of Mal along with his scientific curiosity.
There is plenty of action and adventure and humorous scenes. this book is great for all ages and really good for and independent reader. Mal and Chad's adventures actually started as a comic strip for Stephen's college newspaper. You can see them at :

Thanks to Philomel Books for the opportunity to review this book. 


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