Graphic Novel Review: Beaky Barnes

Beaky Barnes: Egg On The Loose by David Ezra Stein. Penguin Workshop, 2022. 9780593094761. 128pp.

Caldecott honor and Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award winner Stein’s first graphic novel feels a madcap homage to old Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy movies, and features cartoony art that feels equally timeless. When Simpletown Town Inspector Cobb needs an egg for his sandwich, he heads to a cafe where some very odd things are happening behind the scenes. There aren’t any, and the owner needs to get the inspector out of there before he notices the elephant in the kitchen, so the proprietor hurries off to find one when a human-sized chicken, Beaky, and its friend (an inventor) stop by for a meal. (She orders the fish, which is problematic as behind the scenes the fish doesn’t want to get in the pan. (Don’t worry, it all ends well for the fish.)) The cafe owner is excited when Beaky lays her first egg, but then Beaky steals the inspector’s bike setting off a very silly sequence of events that includes her egg, spaghetti, the Inspector’s clothes, the elephant, the fish, and the inventor. It’s all very silly, and there are ads for odd inventions interspersed throughout the story.

This would have been a perfect read aloud with my daughter when she was little, and had moved away from picture books and wanted more and more Babymouse; it lends itself to creating crazy voices as part of an animated read that would be fun for everyone.


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