Review – Joey Fly, Private Eye by Aaron Reynolds
Joey Fly attempts to solve the mystery of the missing pencil box with the help of his un-helpful sidekick, Sammy Stingtail.
Neil Numberman illustrates this graphic novel in an eye-catching way: monochromatic coloring. This gives the book an old-fashioned feel – fitting in with the story of an old time private eye, very film noir-ish. I loved it. At the end of the book there’s a list of 16 things readers can find throughout the book. A very nice touch!
Joey Fly is funny in a Sam Spade-ish way: snappy one-liners and lots of wordplay. The story moves quickly. Joey hires an assistant, gets a client and goes about teaching Sammy all the rules of being a detective. Along the way, we are able to fit the pieces together, just as Joey and Sammy are solving the crime. I thought there was just enough bug humor to be funny but not tiring.
Since the characters are bugs, you can’t really get to know them. But Numberman’s drawings were able to portray a little sense of each bug. Joey was stern but soft-hearted and you could see that in the shape of his eyes. Sammy’s eyes made him look like he would get in trouble as soon as you turned your back on him and he does. Each of the women in the story, Delilah, Gloria, and Flittany, had eyes and body shapes that mimicked their character traits. I thought Numberman did a good job of matching the drawings to the story.
I would give Joey Fly 3 copies. It would work with some of my younger students or for students to read when they visit the elementary school. We use Don’t Feed the Bully for our 6th grade anti-bullying program and I think this book would be a good follow-up novel for some of the students because they use a similar humor style. There’s also a teacher’s guide!
About the Author and Illustrator
Aaron Reynolds is a human, not a bug, but he often writes about bugs. He is the author of Chicks and Salsa, Superhero School, Buffalo Wings, and, of course, the Joey Fly, Private Eye graphic novels. Visit him at his website at www.aaron-reynolds.com.
Neil Numberman is a termite currently residing in New York City. Joey Fly, Private Eye is his first graphic novel, but he is also the author/illustrator of the picture book Do NOT Build a Frankenstein. Stop by his website at www.neilnumberman.com.
Joey Fly Book Trailer