November 19, 2020

Review: My Video Game Ate My Homework

My Video Game Ate My HomeworkBy Dustin Hansen
Available now from DC Comics
Review copy

Dustin Hansen wrote and illustrated My Video Game Ate My Homework, a graphic novel from the DC Kids line meant to appeal to younger readers (about 8 to 12 years old). Hansen draws on his own experience to write protagonist Dewey Jenkins' dyslexia. I think his trouble with reading will ring true with reluctant readers, even if dyslexia isn't the cause of their difficulties.

My Video Game Ate My Homework is not long, and there isn't much text per page. The dialogue tends to be fairly short and direct. The pictures do a good job of helping to tell the story in combination with the text. I particularly love one shot of small spider monsters descending the stairs toward our heroes, where a larger spider can be seen lurking beneath the stairs.

In My Video Game Ate My Homework, Dewey is desperate to get a good grade on his science project to pass his class. He's a smart kid, but his troubles with reading make it difficult for him to do well on day-to-day assignments. Of course, he also wants the first-place prize of an early release VR platform. But his best friend Ferg (the principal's son) accidentally breaks the machine when he finds it in his dad's office. Soon Dewey, his sister Beatrice, her best friend Kat, and Ferg are journeying through the levels of the VR game to rescue Dewey's science project from the malfunctioning machine.

The plot in My Video Game Ate My Homework progresses like a game, with power-up items received and more dangerous monsters on each level and limited lives. The familiarity of this progression will help out readers who are better at games than reading.

I liked the gender balance of the cast, although all the characters are pretty thinly sketched given that it is a short book with lots of action. I disliked that Kat was given lots of good fighting equipment but died quickly in all the fights. The other fighter, Ferg, was given more to do. There are a few nice sibling moments between Dewey and Beatrice.

I don't think My Video Game Ate My Homework will keep more advanced readers occupied long, but I think it is an excellent choice for beginning readers and readers who struggle with denser texts. It is a fun, appealing read that isn't dumbed down but is approachable due to its structure and format. The art is bright and fun, too.

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