Space Dumplins GN
Publisher: Scholastic/Graphix
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Price: $24.99 (HC) / $14.99 (TP)
Creator: Craig Thompson
Format: 320 pgs., Full-Color, Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-5455-6541-7 (HC), 978-0-5455-6543-1 (TP)
Age Rating: 8-12
ICv2 Rating: 3 Stars out of 5

Departing from his usual work for an older audience, Craig Thompson has put together an intriguing story in a wild and crazy world which should appeal to kids.  The flaw in the story is its resolution, which just doesn’t add up, and at least some readers will quickly notice this.  "Yay, we saved X and Y" is what the characters say, but the actual story suggests that the sentence has to continue with "so now everyone is about to die horribly."  In the long run the giant space whales are going to win, as a natural result of the events in the story and the actions of the characters.

The artwork is goofy and crazy enough for the wacky aspects of the story.  Chickens have been uplifted to sentience, apparently just because, and it’s perfectly reasonable to put antlers on a space runabout, also just because.  Space stations are run on energy generated from refined space-whale poop, and the sentients on the upper-class space station are more worried about fashion statements than about imminent doom.

The tale has an anti-science theme which weakens its otherwise good story.  The scientists in the story are portrayed as despicably cold and harsh, but on the other hand, they’re trying to save several sentient species from imminent destruction by what amount to cute monsters.  The message that comes out is that you’re not supposed to fight back against destruction unless you can do it nicely.

In typical juvenile story fashion, the day is temporarily saved by the kids, so readers will feel great about it until they have a chance to think about the ending a little bit.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.