Space Bear is an original graphic novel published by BOOM! Studios under their imprint KaBOOM!, which targets middle grade and younger readers. The graphic novel was created by cartoonist Ethan Young. The book follows an adventurous astronaut bear, Pilgrim Finch, on his quest to explore the cosmos. However, things quickly get off-track when he crash lands on a new planet. While there, he learns that to survive the hostile planet he must have compassion for all living creatures and learn to not judge so quickly.
Space Bear has almost no dialogue and the entirety of the story is told through Young’s brilliant and expressive illustrations. From Pilgrim’s nose scrunch to his tongue lazily sticking out the corner of his mouth when he is hungry, Young’s illustrations beautifully capture the anthropomorphic bear’s emotion and actions without a word being said.
However, the book does still contains traditional thought bubbles. Pilgrim’s confusion, anger, and hunger are illustrated in thought bubbles that resemble bear-like emojis. The simple take on dialogue pays off and keeps the graphic novel accessible to readers of all ages. This all-ages approach is also seen in the graphic novel’s layout. Instead of the traditional vertical book, Space Bear is horizontal and reads more like a children’s picture book. The panel layouts are also very simple to follow.
Even with the simple panel layouts, the action of the book flows well. The fight and chase sequences are dynamic. It is easy to feel the same rush of adrenaline as Pilgrim jets away from unknown alien creatures intent on eating him for lunch.
In addition to the precious illustrations, the coloring in the graphic novel is superb. The pinks and blues that take up most of the panels are calming. When the color palette changes, adding red, it is a clear indication of potential danger. These visual cues are incredibly necessary for a book that has only a few lines of dialogue.
Space Bear is a genuinely funny and adorable children’s graphic novel. It tells an adventurous and exciting sci-fi story that is wrapped up nicely in its uplifting message. The compassion this beloved astronaut bear learns is a timeless lesson that is necessary for any reader.
Space Bear is available now in book stores everywhere.
Space Bear is a genuinely funny and adorable children’s graphic novel. It tells an adventurous and exciting sci-fi story that is wrapped up nicely in its uplifting message. The compassion Space Bear learns is a timeless lesson that is necessary for any reader.