|Book cover of Noodleheads Find Something Fishy |
by Tedd Arnold, Martha Hamilton, and Mitche Weiss,
illus. by Tedd Arnold
In this early reader graphic novel Mom Noodlehead wants to get the Noodlehead brothers, Mac and Mac, out of the house. Giving them a snack and a coin each, she sends them out to the great outdoors in hopes that they will learn something new. Mac and Mac, having found a fishing pole, decide to learn how to catch a fish. Similar to this year’s Vernon is on his Way: Small Stories by Philip C. Stead, fishing in this book also can look very different from what is expected, adding to the humor of the book.
In putting this up to the Geisel criteria, this hits a lot of marks. It has a great story arc that is carried over a series of short, episodic chapters. Both the storytelling and graphic novel paneling offer great pacing and page turns. Bold color illustrations are offset by large speech bubbles, that offer plenty of necessary whitespace for emerging readers. Certain words are in bold to add extra dramatic emphasis that readers will easily pick up on.
I felt that this year’s Noodleheads was making more of a conscientious effort around controlled vocabulary and its use. New words like “rental” and “promise” were repeated, and often on the same double page spread. I also felt that the jokes in this book were more layered, respecting that the reader had enough sophistication to catch the irony.
|6 panels showing the Noodleheads buying worms from Miss Froggy's Bait Shop|
One concern I have is the portrayal of Mom Noodlehead in her 1950’s-esque dress and house apron. It felt very gendered and antiquated in a story that I felt was set in a more contemporary world.
For the most part, this is a strong contender for the Geisel committee, and though we won’t know for sure, I wouldn’t be surprised for it to at least make to the table for discussion in Seattle come January.