Grampa and Julie: Shark Hunters

By Jef Czekaj
128 pages, color
Published by Top Shelf Productions

The genre of serial adventure fiction primarily lives on through comics, but it used to be much more widespread. People would go to the movie theatres and discover what was going on in the latest installment of “The Perils of Penelope”, for example, as each segment would get Penelope out of the previous cliffhanger, while bringing her promptly to a new one to keep audiences wondering what would happen next. It’s that sort of feel that Jef Czekaj brings to Grampa and Julie: Shark Hunters… except that here, you don’t have to go back to the movies a week later to see what happens next.

Julie and her Grampa are in search of Stephen, the largest shark in the world. If they’re lucky, they might just find him. It’s more likely that they’ll find rapping animals, dancing aliens, and even abominable snowmen. Will they ever find Stephen? And more importantly, how is this going to affect Julie’s “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” report for school?

Czekaj’s Grampa and Julie: Shark Hunters originally ran in the pages of Nickelodeon Magazine and the writing for the stories is perfect for the audience. It’s a wonderfully rambling, silly, meandering story that is forever shifting gears to keep up with a short attention span audience. Don’t like the latest plot advancement? That’s ok, just wait a couple of minutes and Czekaj will have improbably shifted the story into a different direction. It’s impossible to ever really get bored with a book like this, and that’s exactly what Czekaj was going for. Maybe it’s because of that ever-changing format, but I found that the book actually works better if read in installments; too much sudden shifting and it’s almost impossible to keep track of what’s going on. In nice short little bursts, the book works excellently.

The art for Grampa and Julie: Shark Hunters is a light, almost childish style in its own right. Characters are put together with just the most basic of shapes, as if Czekaj was in a hurry to be able to get past the whole drawing thing and just start telling the story. Those who have seen Czekaj’s art in the past know that that’s not the case and it’s a carefully crafted style, one that both exudes fun as well as lets the eye move quickly across the page. For a story with as frantic a pace as Grampa and Julie: Shark Hunters, it’s a perfect fit.

Grampa and Julie: Shark Hunters is totally goofy and the perfect sort of thing for a younger reader to really dig into. The only real constant in the book is that everything’s always changing, but always fun. That’s just the sort of book that kids are going to like, but thankfully it’s just as funny for adults too. Those expecting something a little grimmer and deep are going to be awfully disappointed, but this breezy book is just what I was looking for. Hopefully Czekaj will take us on another shark-hunting trip before too long.

Purchase Links: Amazon.com

Comments are closed.