Not out until April 2020, I am seriously unable to wait patiently for the second book/for the ending! Ending on a slow cliffhanger, Francesco Sedita and Prescott Seraydarian created a fun graphic novel for kids into adventure, realistic fantasy, and friendship in The Pathfinders Society: The Mystery of the Moon Tower.
Ages 8 to 10 can follow Kyle, Vic, Beth, Harry, and Nate, five kids with nothing in common but being at the Pathfinders camp, where kids swim, deal with random and frequent downpours of rain and bouts of fog, treasure hunt and dodge natural gas leaks. (In the words of Ludo of Labyrinth fame, “Smell. Smeell baad!”)
When these five kids are assigned to the same cabin, they are ready for some swimming, but a thunderstorm stops them and “movie time” ensues. Instead of the latest blockbuster, they watch the camps history, learning of a possible treasure and the quirky nature of the camps founder, Henry Merriweather (a person that alludes to a Nikola Tesla-like character). Their individual talents come into play as they start their adventure to finding the towns (possibly real) long lost treasure. In the meantime, they must deal with said gas, rain, the past and present overlapping (literally) and a creepy mansion owned by Merriweather himself. And if they find the treasure, it will stop the demolition of the mansion and the camp. So, you know, no pressure or anything.
The adult reader will find a few plot holes. Things that feel like you are starting in the middle of it; why does the great-niece of Merriweather just accept five kids barraging into her home, no questions asked and why is the kids’ counselor not worried where they are? There are also things such as why do the kids just “jump into” being friends? Shouldn’t there be a little tension? After all the authors make a point of pointing out the “Social Grade System” and of course, each one of the kids has a different “Status.” Yet, those “adult issues” aside, kids will just jump into this adventure with both feet, no lifejacket required.
Due to my copy being a reader copy, all illustrations are not complete. Though it does mention they will be in full color. What is presented of Steve Hamaker’s work, is fun, whimsical and cozy. Having been an illustrator for such works as Jeff Smith’s Bone you know he has some chops behind him. What color illustrations that are given show the work to be detailed and colorful without being overpowering. This should help with such rooms as the workroom that is just stuffed with, well stuff.
There are other missing pieces of information due to it being a reader copy (information about the story, the process the creators took and some author/illustrator information), but over all this Scooby-Doo-meets-the-Three-Investigators-meets-Encyclopedia-Brown-meets-Lumberjanes graphic novel should be one to add to the collection. (Just hopefully you are more patience then I am right now!)