From artist Bill Schorr and writer Ralph Smith comes Tucker Grizzwell’s Worst Week Ever, a comedic graphic novel about the ups and downs of middle school and family bonding. Everyone knows middle school is a tough time for any tween. But what if you had to survive both school and a weekend of dangerous traditional trials? Would you shrug it off or count down the days until your possible end?
Tucker is not looking forward to joining his father at the annual Jaws and Claws weekend, where young bears spend time with their fathers learning how to be fearsome creatures. According to rumors, it can be dangerous for young cubs, especially if they meet some unsavory wildlife or suspicious smelling meat. Tucker would much rather spend his weekend playing video games, studying to be an astronaut, or hanging out with his friends, even though they are a bit dimwitted. As the dreaded event approaches, Tucker tries to survive a week in middle school, where his problems range from being hunted by bullies to being ignored by his crush. It seems nothing is going well for the young bear, but things may turn around…hopefully.
The graphic novel has a lot of comedic moments, poking fun at adolescence and growing up. Any middle schooler will see themselves in Tucker Grizzwell, whether it be struggling through difficult classes or trying to avoid embarrassment at every turn. The main character narrates his story and even breaks the fourth wall by talking face to face with the reader. The format works very well with the story, allowing the reader to be taken into Tucker’s world.
As for the artwork, Bill Schorr uses a colorful art scheme and an assortment of characters with unique appearances (the buffalo shop teacher has a hook for a hand and Tucker’s mother always wears hair curlers). The characters’ appearances are reminiscent of iconic cartoon characters, such as the Looney Tunes, with limited to no clothing. It may sound odd but this actually works well with the characters’ world and the illustrator’s artwork. Depending upon the situation, each character’s facial expressions are clearly shown, whether it be annoyance, surprise, or confusion. Moments of hilarity are visually shown, either with comic onomatopoeia or exaggerated action, such as an explosion in Tucker’s science class. At the end of the novel, the creators share some interesting facts about real bears with pictures of the creatures in the wild.
With comedic writing and hilarious artwork, Tucker Grizzwell’s Worst Week Ever is a great addition to any library’s graphic novel collection within their children’s area. Children in grades 4-6 will enjoy Tucker’s misadventures with his family and friends. Readers looking for a comedic graphic novel or a middle school story will enjoy this book, as well.
Tucker Grizzwell’s Worst Week Ever
by Ralph Smith
Art by Bill Schorr
Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: 4-6