Mal and Chad: The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever
by Stephen McCranie
Philomel, May 2011
review copy purchased for my classroom library
One of the last things I heard as I walked my students to the bus last Friday was, "Can I come back and visit you next year and check books out of your classroom library?" It was a rhetorical question; my students have seen 5th graders coming back to browse my shelves all year long. I have the best books, that's all there is to it. It's my goal: something to tempt every reader and if I don't have it, I'll scour the library and bookstores to get it.
My graphic novel readers are going to LOVE Mal and Chad. A reviewer on Amazon puts it this way, "Imagine "Dexter's Laboratory," "Jimmy Neutron," and a dash of "Calvin & Hobbes" and you've got a pretty good idea of what "Mal and Chad" is like." Mal is the super-brilliant inventor boy, and Chad is his talking side-kick dog. Their adventures include a time machine and dinosaurs, underwater exploration in the kitchen sink thanks to a mini-mega-morpher and some magic lollipops, and a little bit of a crush on a girl who can throw a flaming dodge bomb in dodgeball.
At the beginning of the book, Mal's teacher is trying to get him to write a short essay on what he wants to be when he grows up. What Mal finally comes up with is this:
"I spent the whole week trying out different jobs, but I couldn't figure out what I wanted to be when I grow up. Then I realized that finding a job wouldn't answer the question of what I want to be...it would only answer the question of what I want to do. In the end, I found out that being the person you want to be is more important than getting the job you want to get. And if that's the case, why wait until I'm an adult? I'm going to try to be the person I want to be right now."