Braddock is well-known for her Eisner-nominated comic strip, Jane’s World, which ran for 20 years. Her experience working with comics and being surrounded by other creative minds shows in this new series, Peanut, Butter, & Crackers. Animal lovers will delight in seeing the quirky and unique personalities of each animal come alive on the pages.
A pet dog and cat are used to their usual daily routine. Barking at the squirrels that rule the backyard and big meals keep Crackers happy. And Butter, a typical chubby feline, loves lounging comfortably in the peace and quiet of a nice sunny spot. However, all of this is turned upside down, when a new puppy arrives. Suddenly, there’s a lot of chaos.
Welcome Peanut, a high energy, incredibly happy, and loveable little puppy. He instantly makes himself at home by chewing on everything and fearlessly exploring his new space. Everything is new and exciting. Even something as simple as the grass outside is a whole new experience for him to enjoy, and perhaps a little too much, as he makes himself sick eating so much of it. He doesn’t have basic doggy manners yet, so he helps himself to Cracker’s dinner and has accidents in their nice, clean house. There’s lots to learn for this new family member.
Butter, who doesn’t appreciate losing sleep over a puppy who’s afraid of the dark, and Crackers, who is hurt by losing out on cuddle time with the owner, decide something’s gotta change. Butter beats Crackers to coming up with any kind of a plan by “accidentally” leaving the gate to the yard open. Poor Peanut. In no time at all, a fun investigation of this amazing new world, quickly leads to the realization that he has no idea how to get back home. Luckily, Crackers and Butter come to their senses and remember how terrifying being all alone and in the dark can feel. They set out to find their new family member.
Peanut, Butter & Crackers is filled with large panels, sometimes just one per page. Large sized text fills up word bubbles and is used for sound effects. It’s easy to follow the flow of dialogue and images from page to page, making the book a perfect choice for young readers who are just getting used to the reading style of graphic novels. The artwork consists of brightly colored daytime images, with complimentary purple-hued night time scenes, and mostly focuses on our three main animal characters. The animals are drawn with adorable faces and will appeal to all children. The pet owner’s face is never seen, only their arms or part of their body and their dialogue is indicated with scribbles, illegible writing, just as the speech’s meaning is unknown to the animals. This is similar to how Peanut’s comics depict adults, which author, Braddock, mentions was a major influence on her childhood artwork and she’s currently working with Charles M. Shultz, the creator of the Peanuts characters. It’s an interesting and purposefully added element to both comic series.
This is a fun first book in the Peanut, Butter, & Crackers graphic novel series for younger children. Kids will love the silliness that a new puppy can bring to a home, and laugh at the typical cat reactions that we see from Butter. This is a great book selection for learning about adjusting to a new family member, such as a new sibling, friendship, and how to share. Adults and children alike will chuckle at the humorous conversation between this trio, and will be eager for the second book in this series to hit the shelves.