Friday, November 12, 2021

I Survived the Shark Attacks of 1916- Graphic Novel

Lauren Tarshis, Haus Studio, Georgia Ball (Adapted by)
I Survived the Shark Attacks of 1916 (I Survived Graphic Novels #2) 
Published June 2nd 2020 by Graphix
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Chet's parents travel all over for work opportunities in 1916, so he is staying with his Uncle Jerry for the summer, helping out in his diner. It's beena lonely life, with few friends, so Chet is happy when some of the boys in the small New Jersey town of Elm Hills ask him to go swimming. There have been shark attacks neraby, and the boys play a prank on him. Chet isn't happy, but Uncle Jerry tells him this means the boys have accepted him, and that he needs to play a prank in return. He does, but this angers the boys because Chet goes a bit over the top with his shark attack prank. When he goes back to the swimming hole to make amends, he notices a shark in the water and tries to warn the boys. They, of course, don't believe him, and Chet tries mightily to save them. He is gravely injured, but the result of the episode is that the boys are now his friends and his parents are coming to visit... and Uncle Jerry thinks he can get Chet's father to stay and work at the diner with him. 

I Survived books have only gotten more popular over the ten years that they have been published. They have a great combination of history, adventure, and suspense, carried along on an easy to understand plot. The graphic novels go one step further, picturing in detail the historic era and place for readers who have always looked up everything online and don't have a well developed imagination. The graphic novels take about as long to read as the novels, but the full color illustrations definitely appeal to young readers. 

The story of Chet's moving and feeling lonely will also find fans, although in 1916, this would have been a more common occurence, and I'm not sure that Chet would have thought about it quite so much. 

The illustrations have a wonderful yellow and green summer palette, which contrasts nicely with the gray and red of the ominous shark's maw that terrorizes the community. The clothing is accurate for the time period, down to the fact that the boys wear undershorts swimming, although the town must be fairly well off if the boys are wearing shoes down to the swimming hole! 

The historical notes, common in the novel versions, also get a graphic treatment, and the information presented about the real shark attacks adds a lot to the book. As graphic novel selections increase, we are seeing difference genres represented. Aside from graphic memoirs such as Tatulli's Short and Skinny and Copeland's Cub, I can't think of any historical graphic novels other than Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales. 

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