Playful, visually punny Bean the Stretchy Dragon is an energetic debut graphic novel for young readers from popular French comic artist Ari Stocrate.
Every day is "an adventure" for cheery Bean, a tiny black dragon with a tan belly and big orange eyes who lives with his witch caretaker, Sally, in the swamp. Today, Bean wakes up with a good, long stretch, takes in the "nice view," and tumbles (literally) downstairs. Next, it's time for her favorite breakfast--beans (cans and cans of them)--followed by an "after-meal snack" of zombie tibia. Bean then heads through the swamp and into the forest to bury the bone in a pit with the rest of her treasures. When "something more interesting comes along," Bean is off in pursuit of a baby jackelope... until its much-larger mom puts an end to Bean's fun.
Stocrate's winsome graphic novel is adapted from her popular web comic "Sally & Bean." Endearing, childlike main character Bean (inspired by the artist's own pets, a cat and two lizards) can usually be found digging, racing, chasing, or swooshing, and spends the entire book getting into amusing and messy trouble. Page turns sustain the action, and the dawn-to-dusk narrative is interspersed with entertaining illustrations of the "truly magical" beings that inhabit the neighborhood. Throughout this nimble, kid-friendly offering, Stocrate's storytelling makes the most of the visual nature of her format, and this--along with an ever-present sense of humor--allows her to deliver a dynamic and accessible early graphic novel. --Lynn Becker, reviewer, blogger, and children's book author