Kean Soo, author of Jellaby, is back with a new series for kids, March Grand Prix. It’s a delightful excursion, complete with villains, climactic crashes, and lots of good friends and family.

In the first chapter of their adventures, March Hare and his friend Hammond are getting ready for their first big race, The Race at Harewood. But March has to face challenges of embarrassing family, tough rivals, and one mean fox. Will March make it to the finish line or get left behind in the dust? Next, March is ready for the big time, racing for his hero Alan Tuttle, in The Great Desert Rally. But things start going wrong from the beginning when he discovers his sister May is co-driver for his biggest rival, Lyca the fox! Not to mention, desert racing is different from anything he’s done before, and Hammond keeps wanting to stop and help out fellow contestants. Will March Hare make it to the finish line before Lyca? Or are there more important things than being first? Finally, It’s time for March’s sister April to shine, in The Baker’s Run. She’s opening a new bakery and has a big order for apple tarts. March and Hammond offer to help out, but their enthusiasm (and nervous eating habits) get the better of them and disaster strikes. Will April’s shop be closed before it even opens or will March come up with a solution to fix the mistakes he and Hammond have made?

Throughout the stories, there are plenty of puns and references to classic fables and fairy tales. There’s a tricky fox, March Hare himself, his hero Alan Tuttle (a turtle, of course) as well as references to real-life races like the Grand Prix, not to mention more obscure references like character names based on the British show Top Gear.

Kean Soo’s art is colorful and cartoonish, a good fit for these light-hearted stories about racing and family. All the characters and backgrounds have a slight tilted look, as though they’re facing into the wind, perfect for a racing story. Things move fast, with speed lines splashed everywhere and the rabbits and their friends changing expressions rapidly. Most of the art focuses on whizzing cars and the animals’ expressions with minimal background detail. However, one interesting addition is the careful breakdown of the racing cars with various parts of the engine and accessories meticulously labeled. There are many wordless panels, especially in the racing sequences, which move briskly through the action. The text is readable and the panels easy to follow.

The three stories are also available in a single paperback volume, The Fast and the Furriest. This may be a better option for libraries limited by budget, since Capstone’s library bound editions are expensive. There’s also one odd error in the library bound edition; the summary in the publisher’s information for The Baker’s Run is actually the summary for The Great Desert Rally.

Teachers and parents will appreciate the family-friendly message about helping others, sticking to your family and friends, and that winning isn’t everything. However, the stories never stray into being heavily didactic, and there’s plenty of story and fun for kids to enjoy with racing details, puns, and the nods to various fables, fairy tales, and racing culture. While Soo’s illustrations are not particularly unique, the smooth digital finish, brisk lines, and friendly characters will grab young readers immediately and make this a popular addition to any graphic novel section.

March Grand Prix: The Fast and the Furriest
ISBN: 9781623701710
March Grand Prix: The Race at Harewood
ISBN: 9781434296399
March Grand Prix: The Great Desert Rally
ISBN 9781434296412
March Grand Prix: The Baker’s Run
ISBN 9781434296405
by Kean Soo
Capstone, 2015
Publisher Age Rating: 7-10

  • Jennifer

    | She/Her Youth Services Librarian, Matheson Memorial Library

    Reviewer

    Jennifer Wharton is the Youth Services Librarian at Matheson Memorial Library in Elkhorn, Wisconsin where she maintains the juvenile and young adult graphic novel collections and was responsible for creating the library’s adult graphic novel collection. She is constantly looking for great new comics for kids and teens and new ways to incorporate graphic storytelling in programming. Jennifer blogs for preschool through middle grade at JeanLittleLibrary and has an MLS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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