Smith, the creator of the pun-filled Pea Bee and Jay and Giarrusso, artist of the Mini Marvels, team up for a Dog Man/Sponge Bob mash-up, complete with underwater hijinks, supervillains, and flavorful kelp cakes.
It’s a peaceful day under the sea in Caper Cove, when a crime is committed! To catch up with the culprit, the police call in Clawsome, a lobster, and his sidekick Stariana. Together, the two save the day and set out to Kelpy’s for their favorite kelp cakes. But something is going on behind the scenes… something big. When people and even buildings start disappearing, Clawsome and Stariana will have to solve their biggest case yet, going up against all manner of undersea villains, secret plots, and even some pro-wrestling drama. When the claws hit the mat, who can they depend on? And will they be able to save their friends—and themselves?
Colorful cartoons pop from the pages of this silly story, with the bright red Clawsome shooting through the air, spinning yellow, grinning Stariana like a weapon, and zooming through the streets in submarine autos. There’s a giant claw machine, Lucha Libre style wrestlers (mussels of course), and gangs of pufferfish popping their spikes during bank heists. The action is non-stop and the underwater backgrounds, shown by occasional streams of bubbles and streams of water, don’t stop Giarrusso from going all out with helicopters, blimps, and bouncing back and forth between creatures swimming and floating through the atmosphere and then being threatened with being dropped from great heights. Crabs, seahorses, a goldfish in Sherlock Holmes’ style tweeds and cap, and a myriad of underwater creatures fight, commute, plot, and run retail establishments throughout the story and the bright colors complement the endless stream of puns.
This is definitely in the vein of Dog Man, but is most likely to appeal to fans of John Patrick Green’s InvestiGators or Mo O’Hara’s Agent Moose. There’s no attempt at realism; it’s more a superhero story than a police mystery and the goofy antics of the characters, like stopping in the middle of an investigation for a wrestling bout, will keep kids giggling all the way through. This genre is extremely popular right now and this will fly off the shelves in both schools and public libraries, giving young readers plenty of harmless fun and enjoyment.
Officer Clawsome, vol. 1: Lobster Cop
By Brian Smitty Smith
Art by Chris Giarrusso
Harper Collins Harper Alley, 2023
Publisher Age Rating: 8-12 years
NFNT Age Recommendation: Easy Readers (5-9), Middle Grade (7-11)