Parents, educators, and world builder couples Matthew and Arlene Daley and Trevor and Ellen Crafts have created a new children’s graphic novel that combines scientific discovery with thrilling adventures into the unknown. With help from illustrator Wook Jin Clark, The Not-So Secret Society introduces readers to a group of brave and smart twelve year olds who use their scientific know how to explore new places and invent amazing machines. In their first adventure, entitled Tale of the Gummy, the team creates a sweet new machine with dangerous results.
Madison, Dylan, Emma, Aidan, and Ava are members of the Not-So Secret Society. They may appear to be normal middle schoolers but they go on some amazing adventures. However, their newest quest is placed on hold when they need to create something extraordinary for their school’s science fair that leads to the invention of a candy making machine that can bring candy to life! Their new friend, Gummy, is a cute gummy bear who loves to eat candy. But this innocent bear has an uncontrollable hunger, he grows bigger until he is the size of an office building. Now the crew needs to figure out how to shrink their sweet friend and prevent him from creating more havoc. And they need to hurry up or the town’s Halloween fair will be demolished.
The Not-So Secret Society combines adventure and humor to create an entertaining story for children. Each member of the society brings their own personality to the story, whether it be Ava’s knowledge of wrestling moves, Emma’s soft voice and sweet tooth, or Aidan’s engineering skills. They may be different, but together they work well as a team by providing their ideas and discussing what may or may not work. Scientific reasoning and problem solving skills are key elements to this group of characters, as well as to the story itself. They plan ahead and think outside the box, inviting children to do the same. Wook Jin Clark and colorist Eleonora Bruni have created a colorful world where anything is possible, from living candy to the possibility of alien life. The multicultural cast of characters is expressed very well in bright colors and action packed scenes.
The adventures don’t end when the main story does. With help from numerous comic artists, readers are treated to one page mini comics of the Not-So Secret Society containing stories that range from surviving dodge-ball to testing out new technology. The guest artists each offer their own representation of the characters and their lives. Parents and educators can use the comic to teach scientific ideas with lesson plans that include Common Core Alignments. There are also book discussion activities and questions, and a scavenger hunt activity.
The Not-So Secret Society is a great addition to any children’s collection, including within a school’s library. Teachers will be inspired to use the extra activities in their lessons and explore the creators’ websites for more information. The graphic novel is well suited for readers in 3rd-6th grade, especially those who enjoy science and action packed adventures.
The Not-So Secret Society: Tale of the Gummy
by Matthew Daley, Arlene Daley, Trevor Crafts, & Ellen Crafts
Art by Wook Jin Clark
Publisher Age Rating: 8+