MAL AND CHAD
The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever!
From the Mal and Chad series, volume 1
Age Range: 10 - 12
Shy, geeky preteen Malcolm’s efforts to hide his super-intelligence repeatedly fall afoul of mishaps involving a series of spectacular inventions in this web comic crossover. With one such device Mal teaches his dog Chad to talk, and his “Yum Sauce” makes even dog food delicious. Unfortunately, those are about the only times anything goes right, as his jet-powered backpack blasts a hole in the roof, his (single) mom comes home unexpectedly while he and Chad have shrunk themselves to the size of ants with a “Mini-Mega-Morpher” and a time machine made from a junked elevator nearly strands both the adventurous pair and crushworthy classmate Megan back in dinosaur times. Meanwhile, he’s demolished in gym class by Megan’s famous “Flaming Dodge Bomb.” In mulling over a “What do you want to be when you grow up?” assignment, he ultimately concludes that what he wants to “be” is different from what he’ll want to “do,” and it’s too soon to tell about either. Like the art in the original pen-and-ink editions of Jeff Smith’s Bone comics (1995-2004), McCranie’s heavy lined cartoon panels feature expressively drawn figures and easy-to-follow sequencing but look unfinished sans coloring. Still, boy and equally irrepressible dog make an engaging pair, and, along with witty writing, there’s plenty of action both physical and emotional. Sequels will not be amiss. (Graphic fiction. 10-12)