Book 3 of the Squish series
By Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Available now from Random House
I've been hearing about Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm's work in comics for kids for years, but I never read anything by them until the Cybils pushed me into it. I'm happy my panelist duties pushed me into it, because I absolutely love the Squish series.
In THE POWER OF THE PARASITE, our intrepid hero - the amoeba Squish - is forced to go to swim camp by his mom. (The other choice was ballet camp. While Squish makes several jokes about it, the text and other characters point out that ballet is pretty cool.) There he meets Basil, a hydra. (Hydras get their name from the fact that they can grow back body parts - also pretty cool.) Meanwhile, the latest issue of Super Amoeba - Squish's favorite comic - has the eponymous superhero making friends with fellow crime fighter Paralyzer. But both new friends might be bullies!
I enjoy the dual structure of the Squish books. The Super Amoeba comics are funny and reinforce the themes of the main story. Both parts are excellently drawn. The lines are bold and expressive and the character design is well done, even with a blob for the protagonist. I can see why people have been talking about the Holms for years!
THE POWER OF THE PARASITE is a terrific choice for kids who are into graphic novels. Older science geeks might enjoy it as well. Obviously the science isn't very complicated, but I know a ton of biology majors who would get a kick out of books starring amoebas.