Lynn: Creators of the fabulous Babymouse series, Jennifer and Matt Holm, debut a new graphic novel series that will have readers everywhere clapping their pseudopods in glee. Squish: Super Amoeba (Random 2011) puts the microscopic world under the lens. Who would have thought it? Single cell critters go to school, eat tacos, get detention and deal with bullies – only in this case the bullies EAT their victims! Our hero, Squish, is especially fond of comic books featuring Super Amoeba and is always getting suckered out of his lunch money by his best friend Pod who is something of a mooch. When the blobby green bully Lynwood threatens to eat Squish’s friend Peggy unless he lets him copy his science test, Squish doesn’t know what to do. Cheating is wrong but how can he let his friend be devoured? Squish asks his parents who promise to get back to him but an unexpected ally solves the problem – and hey – his Dad turns out to have great advice after all!
The illustrations in black, white and green are a comic delight and the panel layouts are easy for young readers to follow. Text-filled arrows provide information and funny commentaries, “Seriously, this is how amoebas eat paramecia. Cool, huh?” There’s some real science worked in here too and even directions for a kid-friendly experiment at the end. Our focus group adores this book and can’t wait for the next one – and – of course, we’ve done the experiment! You knew that, right? 2 jars of bread mold are now growing in the closet!
Cindy: I’ve been hoarding Book Two, Squish: Brave New Pond to read first knowing that our focus group would take it and I might never see it again! This follow up is fun, too, with Squish trying to have a fresh start in the new school year with the goal of being “cool.” Acceptance with who you are is the theme and there is lots of fun along the way with the popular algae who have their dark sides. The characters are fun, although I need a few cups of coffee before I can tolerate Peggy the perpetually peppy paramecium. I do think young readers will enjoy the asides (in a drawing of Squish sitting on a bean bag chair comes this alert: “He kind of looks like that bean bag chair he’s sitting on.”) Besides these two Squish titles, don’t miss Squish’s debut in Babymouse: Mad Scientist. Oh, and Lynn, get ready. Book two has an experiment to make green slime. Can’t wait to hear how that goes!