Comic artist and writer Art Baltazar has created many graphic novels for children, such as Superman Family Adventures, Tiny Titans, Itty Bitty Hellboy, and Aw Yeah Comics. His newest creation Gillbert: The Little Merman, has the colorful artwork and action packed storyline that his fans will be expecting. With a dose of humor, this original story takes readers on a new adventure under the sea.
Gillbert, the prince of Atlanticus, finds a mysterious message in a bottle written by someone on the surface world. He brings it home to show his parents, who plan on translating the message. Later that night Gillbert is distracted by a cute mermaid named Anne Phibian. She takes him on a journey to a lively dance party populated with various aquatic creatures. At the party he meets a friendly alien named Teeq who teaches him telepathy and shows him how she communicates with aliens. Meanwhile, Gillbert’s parents find a heated space rock that fell into the sea, which leads them to discover that an alien force is coming to invade their oceanic world.
Art Baltazar has created a lively and fun graphic novel, leaving readers with the possibility that its universe will be expanded one book at a time. There is a lot to explore in the aquatic world of Atlanticus and Gillbert is an excellent guide for readers. The little merman is inquisitive, kind, and above all cute. The same goes for all his new friends, a mixture of alien beings, sea life, and other merpeople. What draws readers in is Baltazar’s art style. A bright, oceanic color scheme and his simple cartoon style go well together. Action and exploration scenes flow well from one panel to another, intriguing the reader into continuing the adventure. But besides his artistic style, Baltazar has created an original story that is engaging for young readers. Gillbert learns so much about his world and starts to train in special abilities that may help him very soon (similar to superhero origin stories). And with the secret message revealed, the reader is left wondering what is coming up for the young prince.
With its creative artistic style and action packed storyline, Gillbert: The Little Merman is a great addition to both public and school libraries. Readers will be left entertained and waiting with excitement for the next installment. It’s a good choice for young graphic novel readers in 2nd-4th grade, especially those who enjoy Art Baltazar’s other books.
Gillbert, vol. 1: The Little Merman
By Art Baltazar
Publisher Age Rating: 7-10