Jef Czekaj, Author . Top Shelf $14.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-891830-52-5

Taken from the pages of Nickelodeon magazine, this charming children's comic overflows with humor, adventure and whimsy. It's the first day of school, and kids are reading their summer vacation essays. Julie has the most interesting tales: they involve shark hunting, rocket ships and hot-air balloon chases. She takes off on the high seas with her Grampa, a famous ichthyologist, in search of the world's largest shark. Adventure abounds, with pirates, penguins, conferences, a trip to Antarctica and eventually, far-off planets where Grampa is idolized. Czekaj's sense of the absurd is fine-tuned: spotting a chicken and a squirrel in a life raft, Grampa guesses they're rappers based on the sign they carry: "Will bust fresh rhymes if rescued." Later, Grampa and Julie are rescued themselves, by Gramma, who shows up in a rocket ship. "You have a rocket?!" Julie asks her. "Of course. Every Gramma does. We just don't brag about it." Julie is a resourceful kid: her knowledge of how to open jars of peanut butter comes in handy, while a baking-soda-and-vinegar bomb threatens everything around it. While youngsters will enjoy the breakneck pace and underwear gags, there's some level of satire for every age. Czekaj's art is simple—two ovals and a crescent make up his characters' entire emotional range—but readers won't notice as the story flies by. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 09/20/2004
Release date: 07/01/2004
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