Anders and the Volcano

Gregory Mackay. Allen & Unwin (IPG/Trafalgar Sq., dist.), $9.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-76029-003-0
This b&w graphic novel stars a pair of squirrels, Anders and Eden (the latter wears an eye patch), and an elephant named Bernie; Mackay draws them in a rounded-off style that makes them look a little like balloon animals. In this episode (the book is a companion to Anders and the Comet, available simultaneously), the schoolmates spend a summer holiday at Camp Canvas, a lakeside family resort near Mt. Tremble, an extinct volcano. The dialogue is notably ordinary (“ ‘See you guys there.’ ‘Okay, we’ll be following you’ ”), and because elements of fantasy are introduced and narrated in the same tone, they seem ordinary, too. Anders has a beetle named Skip who flies him home from school; during the summer, Eden rescues a ladybug who can fly, too, and they meet a skunk named Veronica who has a grasshopper. Exploring together, the friends encounter some actual danger, but the situation is quickly and creatively defused. The combination of congenial friendships, playful worldbuilding (the animals practice a martial art called “Whump”), and fantasy-tinged action should easily win this quirky crew some fans. Ages 6–11. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/18/2017
Release date: 10/01/2017
Genre: Children's
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