Meet the Flying Beaver Brothers! Ace is always out for adventure. Bub would rather just sleep. But when they discover an evil penguin plot while practicing for the big surfing competition, they’ll have to work together to save the day. Along the way, they meet their evil nemesis, the be-hatted bully Bruce, have an argument about puffins, and meet two possible allies, Bob and Bob. As for the evil penguin plot…let’s just say it involves lots of ice and underwater pipes!
In their second adventure, The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Fishy Business, Ace and Bub are waking up to pancakes with Bob and Bob and Cynthia (Bob’s spatula) when they notice something new in the forest: a volcano! One wild glider ride later, they’ve discovered some dangerous machinery manned (or should that be finned?) by corporate mackerel. Something mysterious is going on! What are the fish up to? Will Bob and Bob (and Cynthia) get there in time to help? Is Bruce really all bad and what does he have under his hat?
Maxwell Eaton’s art is inseparable from his witty text. The art in The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Evil Penguin Plan is composed entirely of shades of gray and blue, as befits a water-themed story. When the action switches to the forest in Fishy Business, the blue hues change to a cheerful green. Eaton’s deadpan faces and simple landscapes are the perfect match for his slyly humorous stories. Ace and Bub are differentiated only by their swim trunks (can you guess which is which?). One of the best pages is the full spread of the brothers traveling through the pipes of the penguins’ dastardly machine. Simple lines and slight changes in expression and body posture make this simple picture hilariously funny. The solemn dialogue that carries the plot is made even funnier by the little captions and signs here and there in the pictures.
The message of Fishy Business is a little heavy-handed, but the otherwise droll art and cheerfully kooky plots of this new series have tremendous humor and kid appeal. The typeface is clearly readable and the panels easy to follow. These would be great read-alouds for fans of Eaton’s picture books. Or hand these to beginning and intermediate readers who love funny mysteries.
The galley provided for review contained both stories back to back, but these are being published as separate titles. The library bound editions are very affordable and will be a great addition to your graphic novel section for younger readers.
The Flying Beaver Brothers series
by Maxwell Eaton III
The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Evil Penguin Plan
The Flying Beaver Brothers and Fishy Business
Alfred A. Knopf, 2012
Publisher Age Rating: 6-9