Picture books are amazing, graphic novels are fabulous, so when Flying Eye and Seaerra Miller knock out this hybrid gem then I’m a happy fella. I mean, a boy who carries a beating heart in a jar – what’s not to like!
In true Sherlock fashion, Mason Mooney is arrogant, annoying and, for the main character, not all that likable, yet you still want to see where this adventure takes him. He craves the accolades that his (in his mind) talents deserve and when a letter requesting help from the latest inhabitants at Tanglewood Mansion arrives, he now has his chance.
What I love about this book is the range of characters who add richness to the story. The rival, more successful The Paranormal Society provide an interesting contrast, more sleek Youtubers to the stuffy Mason. SPOILER: the ghosts he encounters are such fun to read. Who doesn’t like a bitter ghoul? Finally, Iris, who clearly holds the whole thing together despite her plea for help.
As for the artwork, I’m most impressed with the clever layouts that Seaerra Miller uses to tell the story. A witty conversion with a beating heart is one highlight, while the idea of framing the panels within the rooms of a house is another genius page.
Now for the teacher bit. Well, I normally say a bit on how to use the book in class at this point. With Mason Mooney, all I can say is get it and let the kids generate the buzz. It will be the type of book that gets passed around as it is that cool everyone will want to read it. (And as teachers, we want them all to love reading.)
Kooky, cool, quirky – a must-have for any class library.