Update that cootie shot: zombies have taken over the playground.
In this graphic series opener, Emerson introduces Bryce, aka Scrap, a plucky, young superhero who, with the help of his jump-rope–wielding cohort, Yoshi, must battle a group of cootie-infested ashen-faced zombies who have taken over their playground. Suddenly, the fight changes course, and Yoshi and Scrap find themselves facing a fierce pirate who wants to take over the entire schoolyard. These events, however, are one big, constantly morphing game of pretend that takes place outside at recess on an average day. Through busy and expressive panels, young readers are transported into a world where kids play outside without mention of any electronic devices and with only imaginations to propel the action. Bryce and his friends visit all the well-established tropes of pretend: zombies, superheroes, cowboys, pirates, and playing house. Age-appropriate silliness runs rampant; for example, as the zombie horde clamors for brains, one is continually reprimanded for moaning “Briiians.” The denizens of the schoolyard are a gently diverse gang, and though race is never overtly stated outside of naming conventions (readers are likely to assume Yoshi is Japanese-American, for instance), the spectrum of skin tones among Emerson’s characters should be varied enough to help most readers self-identify.
A welcome throwback to the way recess should be. (Graphic fiction. 7-11)