The Bad Guys, by Aaron Blabey
Scholastic
138 pages

From Aussie author Aaron Blabey, The Bad Guys follows an unusual group of 4 critters on a misguided mission to do…good! Mr. Wolf is tired of always being portrayed as the “bad guy” in stories, so he summons 3 others who fall into the same category; a snake, shark and piranha, to form ‘The Good Guys Club’. At 138 pages, young readers (2nd graders) and especially struggling readers will feel good about finishing a ‘big book’, though it is an easy read; word count is low. Black and white illustrations with gray tones make it appealing and dimensional; some of the POV images are pretty funny and engaging, like when Mr. Wolf swings Mr. Snake and Mr. Piranha on a rope and hook and yells “ it’s time to go be a hero!” as he heaves them upward toward an open window. This series of pictures in particular made me laugh out loud, as he misses the window over and over again, sending them smack-dab into the wall with a resounding, “Splat!” This kind of humor reminds me of the Saturday morning cartoons of my youth; filled with physical gags. I find it hilarious, and I think young readers- especially boys- will as well. I would describe the format as a hybrid chapter book, as it is told mostly in prose form, but contains comic panels as well. It appears that there are 4 books in this series, and I’m guessing kids will devour each one! A big THUMBS UP!