50. Into the Volcano by Don Woods

Into the Volcano by Don Woods (buy)

Rating: (3/5)

Oct 1 2008, Scholastic, 176 pgs

Ages: (10+)

"Don Wood, creator of such children's classics as The Napping House; Quick as a Cricket and King Bidgood's in the Bathtub, now applies his artistic genius to the graphic novel genre. In 176 full-color pages of spellbinding, astonishing art, readers follow the island adventures of two brothers, Sumo and Duffy, as they overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. Wood takes readers on a journey to the center of a wild and unexplored volcanic island where only the brave survive.

In this coming-of-age story, the two brothers must face their personal fears and the treachery of family members who have torn apart their relationships in search of treasure that will bring them astounding wealth.  When Duffy falls down a perilous cliff, Sumo must come to grips with his role in the incident — and whether or not he can rescue his brother. "

Borrowed a copy from my local library.

This started off pretty rough and I almost put it down but since the author is a Caldecott winner I decided to keep going.  The dialogue is pretty bad, unrealistic and painful to read at the beginning.  Sumo is such a whiny, moany, lazy crybaby that he is a painful character at first also.  However, as the story gets over its initial hump the action starts and it is pretty much non-stop from that point on.  The point of the story is that Sumo's character changes; he gains more confidence in himself as he faces life & death situations and finds he is able to rise to the occasion changing his whole outlook.  Belief needs to be suspended as the outlandish adventure unfolds but danger and action keep the story quite riveting and fast paced.  While the island and volcano setting/theme ends up imparting quite interesting information along the way too.  For a Caldecott winner I thought the art was just ok.  Fast-paced, action adventure.