When it comes to dodgeball, how can comic-book artist Tucker MacBean possibly compete with star athlete golden boy Wesley Banks?
Middle school realities come to life in Harkrader’s sequel to The Adventures of Beanboy (2012). No one takes the Art Club seriously, so Tucker and his friends engage in an increasingly desperate series of stratagems to prove its relevance. With the survival of their club on the line, the members of the Art Club try to harness their own creative power and work together as a team as the Artful Dodgers. But Tucker has an additional motive: He must redeem himself in the eyes of his younger brother, Beecher, who has his heart set on the helmet that is the prize of the dodgeball tournament. Needing more students for their less-than-athletic team, Tucker creates a new Beanboy superhero comic strip to recruit more Art Club members. But who is the unknown accomplice helping their campaign out? Harkrader’s newest underdog story has strong pacing and is filled with a memorable cast of adolescent eccentrics. Illustrations on notebook paper, bulletin-board mockups and tournament draws are neatly interspersed between scraps of real life and superhero-action cartoons. Even though the dodgeball tournament is a bit formulaic, the pursuit of individual creativity while recognizing the benefits of teamwork leads to an eminently satisfying conclusion.
Readers will be greedy for the next adventure of Beanboy and the modest genius behind him. (Fiction. 8-14)