Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2015. 978-1449457112
Synopsis: Cecil is a toad. Cecil is a toad that is awesome at the pond splashing contest. A toad that is friends with a free-range hamster, a lizard, a worm, and a frog. But not the hawk. Definitely not the hawk. But when the hawk takes Cecil on a ride over the pond, he notices machines. Big machines. Big machines for building something…something that is going to go directly through the pond and destroy their home!
Why I picked it up: I always love kids comic books…especially ones that involve science.
Why I finished it: This is a charming comic that combines elements of fiction and nonfiction, with a touch of environmentalism. Cecil and his friends are a cast of characters to which the reader is immediately endeared, and the reader wants these pond dwellers to be able to save their home as much as they do. The story is simple and straightforward, making the plot easy to follow without being overwhelmed. It has some weighty issues for a children’s book, but the way Braddock handled the subject matter is perfect for the age group. Plus, it has stuff in there about biology, which means that kids and teachers alike will get something out of this story. Braddock’s art is creative, colorful, and child-like, combining clean lines with simple landscapes to keep the panels from getting too cluttered. It is a humorous, lighthearted take on habitat endangerment and the power of friendship that will be enjoyed by all ages.
Other related materials: The Secret Science Alliance books by Eleanor Davis; Big Nate books by Lincoln Peirce; Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic by Mark Tatulli; Desmond Pucket and the Mountain Full of Monsters by Mark Tatulli; Knights of the Lunch Table books by Frank Cammuso; Timmy Failure books by Stephen Pastis; Heavenly Nostrils Chronicle books by Dan Simpson; The G-Man Super Journal books by Chris Giarrusso; Alien Invasion in My Backyard: An EMU Club Adventure by Ruben Bolling; Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi; Zita the Spacegirl books by Ben Hatke