The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza, by James Kochalka (First Second, 2014), ISBN: 978-1-59643-917-7, $17.99
Pub Date: March 2014
Recommended for ages 8-12
I first discovered James Kochalka a few years ago, when my son read and adored his book, Peanut Butter & Jeremy’s Best Day Ever. I loved the cartoony art and fun dialogue; when I saw this title available on NetGalley, I immediately requested it, knowing I’d be in for a fun read. I was absolutely right.
Not knowing about the successful Glork Kickstarter that Mr. Kochalka and PixelJam games had back in 2010, I came to Glork as a brand new audience. The book is hilarious and surreal on a level that middle schoolers can truly appreciate and adults will just laugh out loud looking on. The Glorkian Warrior is sitting at home with his Super Backpack, when the phone rings – it is destiny? Well… kind of – it’s a pizza order. While Backpack wants the Glorkian Warrior to disregard the obviously wrong number, the Warrior will not be put off – this is his mission! He grabs a partially eaten pizza from his fridge and sets off on a journey that will introduce him to alien babies and add strange and unusual toppings to the pizza, including ash, tears, and fire damage. Will the Glorkian Warrior fulfill his delivery destiny? Don’t look at me for answers, read the book!
The book, which hits bookshelves in late March, is great fun. The cartoony art is perfect for its middle grade audience, as is the goofy humor. The Warrior is hilariously oblivious, Backpack is the brains of the operation, and together, the two are responsible for bickering and laughs on the level of Star Wars’ C3P0 and R2D2.
I enjoy graphic novels for kids, for several reasons. The first reason? Reluctant readers. They may stare at a page full of words and shut their brains off, but how can you look at a brightly colored, fun adventure and say, “No thanks”? You can’t. This will draw in reluctant readers, who – sadly – also tend to be boys. Having an alien warrior delivery a pizza with his laser-powered sentient backpack will definitely help bring the boys to the reading table. The second reason? Graphic novels teach sequence. Sequential art – art that is broken up into panels, a sequence – gives kids a sense of pacing and “what happens next” – very important concepts in the Common Core these days.
I thoroughly enjoyed riding shotgun with the Glorkian Warrior, and look forward to seeing him again. Reserve this book for any young readers you may have – they’ll get a kick out of it. The book also opens itself up to some great reading group discussions, including drawing your own alien workshop/top your own alien pizza workshop, map out the mission mapmaking sessions, and make your own comic book programs.
Mr. Kochalka has a Tumblr, Kochalkaland, where he features some webcomics (not necessarily young child-appropriate, but then again, neither is Tumblr) and a webcomic at American Elf (again, not young reader-appropriate). You can follow Glorkian Academy on Twitter for news about the books.
I found some interior art from The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza on the publisher’s website: