Nordling’s wordless series based on traditional childhood games continues with an exciting adventure based on Capture the Flag. As the streetlights turn on and the sky darkens, children begin to gather with their flashlights in a pleasant, green park. Two older children start choosing sides and little Chavo is disappointed to be chosen last of all. The children raise their flashlights and…they are transported into a twisting, blue and purple alien landscape. The game is on!
Chavo is thrilled to be chosen to hide his side’s flag, but then discovers everyone else has taken off without him, into the enemy’s territory! Can his courage and quick-thinking save the day?
Readers who have experienced the previous titles will recognize several characters, including Belinda and Andrew. Chavo is a strongly relatable character, drawn with a shock of dark brown hair, light brown skin, and a determined face. Kids will instantly sympathize with his disappointment as he’s passed over again and again, his panic as he’s thrown into a frightening landscape, and eagerly try to guess what he’s thinking as he tries to come up with a plan to save his team—and the game.
Although wordless, even readers who have never played Capture the Flag will be able to figure it out from the clear movement of the players. Personally, I have never figured out how the game works until now, so if it made sense to me, anyone could pick it up! The landscape is creepy, but not too scary. Twisting vines and jungle scenes, accompanied by a scary snake-venus fly trap, give a sense of an alien landscape, as well as clearly defining the opposing teams; one side of the landscape is purple and the other blue, matching the two teams. Readers will be quickly drawn into the game and experience some delicious shivers, while still realizing it’s the really the park underneath.
Wordless books offer numerous opportunities to build visual literacy and encourage imagination, and Chavo the Invisible could also be of use in the classroom in focusing on predictive, narrative, and social-emotional skills. A diverse cast of characters, not just in race but also in behavior and personality, offer more opportunities for kids to relate to the story. A strong addition to the Game for Adventure series, both teachers and librarians will find this a useful title for their collections.
Game for Adventure, vol. 3: Chavo the Invisible
by Lee Nordling
Art by Flavio Silva
Lerner Graphic Universe, 2018
Publisher Age Rating: 5-9