Shipwrecks and secrets abound in this sophomore graphic offering.
Picking up where predecessor The Unsinkable Walker Bean (2010) left off after a fantastic battle at sea, bespectacled Walker Bean and his friends are marooned on a mysterious and seemingly deserted island but soon surmise they might not be alone. Before long, Walker and his friends—music-loving Shiv and headstrong Genoa—learn that the island has a dark history surrounding an avaricious aristocrat. As they encounter shadowy spirit animals and treacherous foes, it becomes apparent that Genoa is integral to the mystery. Will they be able to solve the riddle of the island and set right the wrongs of the past? Renier’s plotting is complex; his worldbuilding is intricate and immersive, requiring careful reading. Stunning illustrations should easily compel young eyes to linger over the many tidy and small panels juxtaposed against alluring larger spreads. While Walker is intrinsic to the action, gal pal Genoa shares equal importance even though her name’s not on the marquee. Enough backstory is provided for this to serve as a fine jumping-in point for readers unfamiliar with Book 1—but expect them to demand it after. Walker and Genoa present white; many secondary actors, including Shiv, seem to be characters of color.
Dazzling. (Graphic adventure. 7-12)