The universe was certainly telling me that I just had to check out the work of the Australian author Aaron Blabey.
First, the librarian at my children’s school was raving to me about Thelma the Unicorn, an amazingly clever picture book about a pony who wants to be so much more. Just a few days later, one of my kids grabbed a copy of Pig the Pug off the shelves of our local library. Then my 5-year-old came home from kindergarten excited to tell me all about this hilarious book that her teacher had read to the class — Blabey’s Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas. Needless to say, it didn’t take long before there were piranhas occupying space on our bookshelf at home! And they were not there alone, with I Need a Hug! and more than a few of the Pig the Pug series titles sitting close by. You could say we quickly became fans of Blabey’s humorous tales and fabulous illustrations…and then my 7-year-old met The Bad Guys!
The Premise of The Bad Guys Series
For those who haven’t previously been introduced, Aaron Blabey’s The Bad Guys are Misters Wolf, Snake, Piranha, and Shark. These bad guys look like bad guys, sound like bad guys, and even smell like bad guys BUT together, they decide it’s time to improve their status by going good. How will they achieve this new and improved image? By performing heroic tasks that prove their goodness.
As simple as the plan sounds, things don’t always go to plan when it comes to The Bad Guys and their good deeds. For example, their first mission involves rescuing a cat from a tree — but what cat would want to be rescued when greeted by all those teeth!? Their next good idea? To rescue two hundred dogs from the pound!
Why Boys and Girls Love The Bad Guys
The Bad Guys feature in a series of (currently) eight adventures filled with plenty of extreme absurdity, exaggeration, silliness, and just a sprinkle of potty humor — everything that kids who love humor are looking for in a story. Graphic novels with fun, black-and-white comic book-style illustrations and text pitched at around a second grade reading level, The Bad Guys can be useful for helping children make the step up from picture books to chapter books. They appeal equally to boys and girls, and are great for children around the ages of six through nine years (though it must be noted that my 11-year-old still loves to read each new tale as it hits our library’s shelves!).
As both his humor-filled picture books and The Bad Guys series demonstrate, Blabey is a master at understanding what makes kids laugh. With such expert use of both prose and illustration, this series can be the key for turning an early or reluctant reader into a bookworm — eagerly anticipating the next book.
And if you’re already familiar with The Bad Guys, you’ll be excited to hear there’s a movie adaptation in the making. Superfans will also love the box set of the first five books — so many laughs for a great price!