Brian “Smitty” Smith is best known as being a former editor for both Marvel and DC Comics. Titles he’s worked on include the Ultimate Spider-Man, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, and Batgirl. He is no stranger to creating comics either, as you can also see from his work on Tree Mail (a collaboration with Mike Raicht). His latest work, Pea, Bee, & Jay is an all new children’s graphic novel series that he has solely illustrated and written.

This story starts off on a beautiful farm with our main character, Pea. Pea is looking for adventure. After arguing with his neighbors, a gang of fruits, about who has ventured the furthest from the property; Pea finds himself faced with a challenge he can’t pass up. He must be the one to make it the furthest. A huge, red-leaved maple tree beyond the fence is set as the destination he is to reach.

Trouble starts as soon as Pea sets off. He quickly finds himself caught in a terrible rainstorm and is blown far, far away. Feeling panicked at the thought of being lost forever, Pea, desperately tries to just get onto dry land. He then bumps into Bee, literally. Bee, an academic know-it-all, helps Pea out. Together, they meet Jay, the blue jay that doesn’t seem to know how to be a bird at all. Jay can’t fly and doesn’t try to eat either Pea or Jay, even though seeds and insects would normally be tasty morsels for a bird to enjoy. The characters run into many whimsical forest characters that will make any child giggle, from raspberries “blowing raspberry” to not so smart acorns.

Smith has an easy to follow panel style with bold colors, and cute cartoon characters. Children will like this illustrative style, and the clear dialogue will be manageable to newly independent readers.

Pea, Bee, & Jay features an unlikely friendship with easily likeable characters, simple color illustrations, and humor sprinkled throughout. It’s a quick read that I would recommend as a great addition to any collection. Smith is releasing the second title in the series, Wannabees, in September 2020. Readers won’t have to wait long to enjoy the next adventure that this trio of friends faces.

Pea, Bee, & Jay #1: Stuck Together 
By Brian “Smitty” Smith
ISBN: 9780062981172
HarperAlley, 2020
Publisher Age Rating: 6-10

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NFNT Age Recommendation: Easy Readers (5-9)

  • Kendra

    | She/Her

    Reviewer

    Kendra Perkins has worked at libraries in Canada, the U.A.E., China and South Korea where she has been everything from Founding Head Librarian to volunteer. She was Ambassador of China for the International Librarians Network, and she was elected to be Coordinator for the Shanghai Librarians Network (SLN), which is a community of almost 100 library professionals from more than 20 schools. She has completed her ALA accredited Masters in Library and Information Studies program at the University of Alberta. She has traveled to over 90 countries, learned to speak basic Mandarin Chinese along the way and kept up with too many graphic novel series to keep count. She has led workshops, created webinars and done library consultations in fun places like Italy and Hong Kong. She has been a guest blogger for multiple technology and education related websites and is a published book reviewer for Urban Family magazine. Find out more at her website, which she should update more frequently: http://www.theinspiredlibrarian.com

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