Spartan & The Green Egg
Book 1: A Trip to the Rainforest
Nabila Khashoggi & Manuel Cadag
A trip to the Rainforest is the first in a series of graphic novels for children, which follow the adventures of a group of children, led by the eponymous Spartan, who make contact with an Alien who offers to take the children anywhere they wish.
The book is an educational comic intended to teach children about the Rainforest and the dangers that deforestation causes, both for the wildlife and indigenous people that inhabit it.
As an educational book it works well. I can imagine children being engaged with the story. The comic book style and some of the plot elements like the alien’s powers and the children banding together to re-grow the trees that the foresters are cutting down, stop it falling too much into the realm of overly preachy Edutainment.
The art is nice, even if the characters do seem to be pulling the same facial expressions in every panel. I’m not a fan of the colouring style however, it’s purely personal taste but I’m not a fan of colouring that looks too digital. While the colouring is suitable for the rainforest setting with lots of rich greens and vibrant colours used for the plants and animals. There’s far too much use of the burn and highlight tools which give it a cheap photoshopped feel. The green used on every page to separate the panels is also a little too garish and I’d have preferred if it was mixed up a little bit.
I must admit, I didn’t enjoy this book. While I think it’d make a good read for kids, as an adult there’s not much to keep you reading. This, of course, it no bad thing (it is a children’s book after all) but the dialogue and story are pretty straightforward without much flourish and the characters aren’t all that different from each other. I also couldn’t help but wonder, if an Alien grants these children the ability to go anywhere they want…why do they go to the rainforest instead of…you know…the Alien’s home world? It seems a bit of a wasted opportunity on the kids part…
If you’ve got small kids, by all means give this one a go. I’m sure they’d enjoy it, it’s a fun colourful adventure with a good message, just don’t expect there to be much to enjoy for the adults.
I received this book for review through GoodReads FirstReads