Review: March Grand Prix
Kean Soo is well known for his contributions to the Flight Anthologies, but for me, his most well-known work is his wonderful comic Jellaby, which was originally published by Hyperion, and then later reprinted by Capstone/Stone Arch books. But luckily his partnership with Capstone didn’t end with reprinting his out of print titles. Instead they released a three-part series called March Grand Prix.
March Grand Prix: The Baker’s Run 978-1-4342-9640-5
March Grand Prix: The Great Desert Rally ISBN 978-1-4342-9641-2
March Grand Prix: The Race at Harewood 978-1-4342-9639-9
By Kean Soo.
Stone Arch Books. 2015. hc, $24.49. 48pp.
Grades 2 and up
Kean Soo’s March Grand Prix consists of three short stories divided into three volumes. The volumes aren’t numbered, and while one can surmise the order after reading all three, it’s not actually obvious or necessary for the enjoyment of each story.
In the Baker’s Run, March and his trusty side-kick help March’s sister in her Bakery’s Grand Opening. But they cause more trouble than its worth, when March paves a path of destruction in his quest for speed and Hammond eats half of the bakery order.
In the Great Desert Rally March is angered that his sister, a competent mechanic, joins the other team, but he quickly learns there is more to racing than winning. Though March is determined to win, he makes many stops along the way to help people who are stuck. In doing so, the favor is returned and he learns there is more than one way to win.
In the Race at Harewood, after a practice run, March thinks he lost his chance at winning, but with his family’s help, he perseveres and wins first place.
Each story has a feel-good theme with a bit of a moral about teamwork and putting others before yourself. The stories are not overly didactic, even though the moral is heavily present. The characters are well drawn with distinct personalities. March is driven with a good heart. Hammond seems simple, but is cute and nervous and most important a talented mechanic.
The artwork is fun and detailed with a mix of pastels and darker colors that give the pictures an interesting blend. The bits where the car is broken down and labeled are great and will appeal to car enthusiasts. People wanting to splurge on these costly volumes will not be sorry.
This review is based on a complimentary copy supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © Capstone Press.
About Esther Keller
Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. She also curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.
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