Recommended for ages 8-12
Much like Star Trek’s Starship Enterprise, the crew of the H.M.S. Gwaniimander is on a mission to explore the outlands of Crutonia. Led by Captain Quenterindy Quirk, a captain whose overconfidence far outpaces his competence, the crew finds their voyage cut short by disaster when giants attack the ship and try to eat the crew! The survivors make their way to land, and Quirk – when not bemoaning his terrible luck – tries to keep his crew to their royal mission. After all, what better land to map than completely unknown territory? There’s danger all around, but Quirk’s crew seems to be more on the ball than he is.
This is the first book in the Quirk’s Quest series by longtime friends Robert Christie and Deborah Lang, who created the woirld of Crutonia back when they were dodging food fights in school. It’s a fun fantasy story, with cartoony, Muppet-like characters (I kept thinking of Fraggle Rock while I read) and some wild ups and downs, including secret plots, Crutonian-eating giants, and one arrogant captain determined to complete a mission in the face of failure. Kids will love it, tweens and teens will get a kick out of it. There’s a roster of important characters, a guide to the Sxervian Frog Bridge, and a mission map of the Outlands to guide readers through this new world.
Yes, I’m a First Second fangirl, but with good reason: the publisher consistently puts out great graphic novels, fiction and nonfiction, for all ages. I get parents in my libraries who tell me their kids don’t enjoy reading, but balk when I lead them to the graphic novel section, because we were all told for years that comic books were junk food for the brain. Not true, and publishers like TOON Books and First Second are prime examples of graphic novel publishers who bring on the best writers and artists to make reading exciting and informative.
If you want a sneak peek at some of Quirk’s Quest, check out the Tumblr, where you can read the first 55 pages of the adventure. I’ve also got a little sneak peek here, courtesy of Macmillan, who distributes for First Second. Make sure to visit Crutonia.com for more news about Crutonia and its inhabitants.