August 20, 2017

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Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt by Ben Clanton | SLJ Review

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redstarCLANTON, Ben. Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt. illus. by Ben Clanton. 64p. (A Narwhal and Jelly Book: Bk. 2). Tundra. May 2017. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781101918296. POP

Gr 1-3 –Donning a cape, Narwhal decides to become a superhero—after eating lunch, of course. Super Narwhal needs a sidekick, so pal Jelly is dubbed Jelly Jolt. In this second installment of the sweetly surreal series, the characters are true to form; delightfully ditzy Narwhal remains upbeat even when he initially fails to exhibit a single superpower, while his jellyfish friend frets at every turn. In addition to three tales about Narwhal and Jelly, there’s a section about the “superpowers” of various ocean creatures (for instance, crabs can regrow their legs, the mimic octopus can change its appearance to resemble other animals, and dolphins sleep with one eye open) and a pun-laced story “written” by Narwhal and Jelly, in which Super Waffle and Strawberry Sidekick rescue their city from a giant butter blob. Clanton crafts a whimsical narrative that focuses on quirky conversations rather than superheroic adventures, and the funny story will snare a range of readers. Lively illustrations, dominated by hues of blue and featuring irresistibly cheerful characters, have a childlike feel, as though scribbled by a youngster clutching a crayon. As in many of the best reads starring dynamic duos—Arnold Lobel’s “Frog and Toad,” Mo Willems’s “Elephant and Piggie”—friendship is at the core; Narwhal always quells the many anxieties of his loyal companion. VERDICT A super addition to graphic novel collections serving younger readers, especially where the first volume is popular.–Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

This review was published in the School Library Journal June 2017 issue.

Mahnaz Dar About Mahnaz Dar

Mahnaz Dar (mdar@mediasourceinc.com) is Assistant Managing Editor for Library Journal and School Library Journal and can be found on Twitter @DibblyFresh.

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