The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Evil Penguin Plan by M. Eaton III
Eaton, Maxwell, III. The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Evil Penguin Plan. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. Print.
The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Evil Penguin Plan is a new contribution to the tremendously popular genre of comics for developing readers (Captain Underpants, Wimpy Kid and their ilk).
Eaton's artwork is very clean with little line variation, giving the pages a very open and spacious quality, which enables visual navigation. The simple colour scheme - clear, bright blues and gray tones - is a welcome variation on the standard black and white comic and this restrained palette supports the clean, cartoon-y style, further facilitating ease of reading by avoiding complexity and over-design.
The Beaver Brothers' training for a beaver community surfing competition is interrupted when they stumble upon a secretive penguin community. The penguins have hatched a scheme to alter the natural wilderness the beavers call home to their own penguin specifications. The bumbling and mildly dysfunctional beavers must thwart their plan before it is too late.
The narrative in The Flying Beaver Brothers is almost completely conveyed through imagery and dialogue – no lengthy, wordy asides impede the plot - and this gives the story a rewardingly quick pace and congenial accessibility. The beaver brothers are likeable doofuses and the penguins, though diabolical, are very cute (as penguins can be expected to be).
Compared to other early reader comics, The Flying Beaver Brothers lacks the slightly outré humour and scatological content that seems intrinsic to this genre's appeal. It’s nice to think that readers would appreciate an occasional break from the diaper and underpants jokes and narratives that hinge on public humiliation to enjoy this easy going and earnestly environmentally conscious beaver brother’s adventure.
Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Matilda Roche
Matilda spends her days lavishing attention on the University of Alberta’s metadata but children’s illustrated books, literature for young adults and graphic novels also make her heart sing. Her reviews benefit from the critical influence of a four year old daughter and a one year old son – both geniuses. Matilda’s super power is the ability to read comic books aloud.