Promotions for this new comic series proclaim it to be the new Dog Man, which is certainly over-ambitious for what it offers. However, its silly humor will please many intermediate comic readers.
The Bumble brothers, Christopher and Walter, are biracial twins and, as the story begins, their goofiness is firmly established. They wake up on a Saturday morning and go into a panic because a cloud moves in front of the sun, making them think it has disappeared. This is especially traumatic because it’s the day of the release of a new issue of their favorite comic series, starring superhero Frabbit. After various nonsensical antics, they make their way to the dining room and their parents, who are too busy arguing about the boys’ baby pictures to fix them breakfast. After a short interval, the boys are sent to the store by their mother to buy milk. At first, she tries to request “ultra-pasteurized, homogenized, glorified, rarified, purified and liquified with vitamins A and D added” but quickly gives up and just gives them two dollars for milk. Naturally, the boys forget their task as soon as they get out of the house and start getting into various shenanigans, leading them to end up at the comic shop buying the latest issue of Frabbit. More shenanigans ensue, ending with them returning home sans milk and comic, but all is not lost, as Papa Bumble comes to their rescue.
Schatell is an experienced illustrator of picture books and easy readers, and moves easily to the graphic novel format with a classic cartoon style. Both brothers have light brown skin, Christopher has curly hair and a buck tooth and tends to be goofier than his brother; Walter has straight brown hair and glasses. A few other people, including their parents, are shown, and the others mostly are brown-skinned as well. All are the classic expanded stick man pose, with skinny legs and arms, simple shapes for feet, four-finger hands, and pinpoint eyes, although Walter’s are are dots in his oversized glasses. Frabbit, their favorite superhero, makes frequent appearances and is depicted with the top half of a white rabbit, including a buck tooth and long ears, and the bottom half of a frog, with two giant green feet. The adults the boys come into contact with are generally resigned to their silliness, unless, like Papa Bumble, they share in the goofiness themselves.
There is a typo on page 7, but the the book has a firm binding, especially for a paperback, and is reasonably priced. The reading level and nonsensical “plot” would make this, in my opinion, more suited for younger readers, those just graduating to chapter books. It’s most similar to the intermediate easy reader Noodleheads series based on “fool” type fairy tales in graphic novel format illustrated by Tedd Arnold. Older readers, even Dav Pilkey fans, are apt to require more actual plot from their reading. However, there is no potty humor or violence, other than some squabbles between the boys, so it may be an alternative for libraries needing graphic novels without Pilkey-style anarchic humor. Purchase where Noodleheads books are popular and more bland fare for intermediate readers is needed.
Bumble Brothers: Crazy for Comics
By Steve Metzger
Art by Brian Schatell
Publisher Age Rating: 4-8 years old
NFNT Age Recommendation: Easy Readers (5-9)