While I am not necessarily a huge fan of Nikki Grimes’ work, I do enjoy most of what I read. And I have thought about reading their novel Garvey’s Choice for a while, yet, I never got around to it. Then not as long as it has been out, but a while ago, I saved a link to an online reader copy of the graphic novel version, but in typical me style, forgot about it and did not find it again until recently. Which was the perfect timing to find it. I was ready for the world of Garvey.
If you like prose poetry and graphic novels (which I do), Garvey’s Choice: The Graphic Novel illustrated by Theodore Taylor III is a fun story of a young boy trying to find the perfect size: the size to fit in his family, to fit in at his school, to be able to fit in with his friends and mostly the size of being happy. In other words, Garvey is a bit plump, is teased, has the anxiety and depression that can go with that, all the while trying to connect with his father.
This combination of poetry and art is unique and makes for an interesting read. However, sometimes the prose can be a bit idealistic and sparse, but also has bounce and moves the characters, setting the tone. The illustrations also have movement, but supports the voice of Garvey without taking over the scene, or being overwhelming. It is a strong presentation, but might not feel as as fleshed out as similar titles such as A Work in Progress by Jarrett Lerner, at times. Yet, it is fleshed out in its own way. It might not be for everyone, but everyone could find something with it. I would say the book would fit most readers ages (strong) 8 and 9 to around 13 or (young) 14. Mostly this is due to the fact that the illustrations do have a younger look to them.