What do you do when aliens have taken over and only you can save the world? Call Agent Gordon to the rescue! Gordon: Bark to the Future by Ashley Spires begins with our favorite canine returning home. He discovers something is amiss as he learns his partner has been kidnapped, and that the organization he works for P.U.R.S.T. (Pets of the Universe Ready for Space Travel) is not responding to his calls. He realizes the only thing he can do is travel in time and prevent the alien invasion. Only problem is he travels too far back in time and his time machine runs out of fuel.
The story is full of humor as Gordon’s instincts as a dog override his instincts as an agent. One of the things at the top of the list is to play ball. He decides he needs to play ball in order to clear his head. Another unintended consequence of his behavior is he gets really hungry and eats all the food. He ends up eating a bag of cat food, and tosses away a recruitment flyer for a super agent organization. As a result, his friend Binky (of Binky the Space Cat fame) does not join, and they never meet and become friends.
The pages of the graphic novel are printed on a dark grey background. The panels contain light grey, beige, and blue colors. One distinct detail that I enjoyed about the artwork is that a simple movement of the eyes can convey a message. A shift to the right could mean curiosity or concern. Eyes pointed upwards mean either Gordon is sleepy or he is ready to give up. For a graphic novel with very little text, the eyes and their placement really gives us insight into the mindset of our hero. The story contains a lot of charm as it is told from the viewpoint of a dog. A dog would naturally crave food, chase rubber balls, and want to go to sleep.
I would highly recommend Gordon: Bark to the Future for elementary school children. They will love the antics Gordon gets into. It’s a graphic novel they will likely read over and over again. In addition, I would recommend purchasing the first P.U.R.S.T. adventure, Fluffy Strikes Back, and the Binky the Space Cat series. Readers can enjoy Gordon: Bark to the Future without reading those first, but they do compliment this book and provide further background into P.U.R.S.T. and the other characters.
Gordon: Bark to the Future
by Ashley Spires
Kids Can Press, 2018
Publisher Age Rating: Ages 7-10