It’s the big day of the school play, and Jamie has a mean case of the hiccups. For Jamie, this could be calamitous—the last time he had the hiccups, they lasted two whole days! But Jenna, the star of the play, will not let Jamie ruin the show. Determined to find a cure, she drags Jamie to various experts. Jamie undergoes science teacher Mr. Beaker’s Bottom’s Hic-Be-Gone 3000 machine, Coach Bloat’s Super Sports Cure, and Lunch Lady Linda’s recipe for “Hiccup Surprise,” all to no avail. Finally, it falls to Jenna herself to find the ultimate cure.
The simple line drawings are childlike and accessible, although comparisons to Marc Brown’s Arthur characters are probably inevitable: Hiccup! features a similar humanoid-but-with-animal-ears mixed cast of characters. Hiccup has bunny ears reminiscent of Brown’s Buster, Jenna has cat ears, and some kids have a beak or muzzle instead of a human nose. Still, Herrod’s drawing style is unique, and the simplicity and flat colors make characters appealing and easy to follow through the panels.
Although this is a fun and funny story, the fact that it is aimed at new readers must be taken under consideration. Tricky, non-sight words such as “minutes,” “curiosities,” and “broccoli,” are included and, with the exception of the broccoli, there are no visual clues to help a new reader decode these words. Even if a reader gets through the many difficult words, most of them are not repeated, so the hard work of decoding doesn’t pay off to help new readers gain confidence. As a graphic novel, Hiccup! works. As an easy reader, it doesn’t. Shelve with the graphic novels and recommend to fans of Lunch Lady and Squish.
by Mike Herrod
Blue Apple Books, 2012
Publisher Age Rating: 6-9