Now, let me start by saying, the Squish books are not new in terms of when they came out. That doesn’t mean they aren’t lots of fun, and that they don’t have something to get kids excited about science concepts–in a quick, fun, casual way.
Squish 1-5 (that’s all I read)
Jennifer & Matt Holm
The Squish graphic novels are all about an amoeba named Squish, and the misadventures he gets up to: having a super all-the-time-cheerful friend, having a friend who always steals his nachos, being bullied and being a bully, ballet vs swim camp and cruel jokes, team work and leadership, balancing homework with fun.
What I liked:
As you may recall, I wrote my thesis about the educational merit of graphic novels; I will naturally be a bit biased toward a graphic novel series that has science concepts in it. Just simple little snippets of science that are easy to understand and digest, such as explaining what a protozoa is (and how to pronounce it) for third to fifth graders. These little facts, squeezed in between a nacho stealing buddy, a bully that actually eats his intended victims, and other misadventures, keep the informational aspects small, while it still packing a little educational punch. Just enough to teach, not enough to scare them away.
Each story is supplemented by the comics that Squish is reading, which parallel the same story arcs we’re reading about. So while we’re reading a graphic novel about Squish, Squish is reading a comic book about almost the same thing in the story arcs of the super Amoeba, only less dramatically. Super Amoeba is in black and white, while Squish is in tinges of green.
There are also asides by the authors, or perhaps the narrator depending on how you look at it, which are sarcastic and funny. They point to certain scenes and give a snarky aside, or sometimes another little fact, or some character information.
I really like the DIY experiments at the end of each book for growing mold, or making slime, or playing with air pressure. They are fun, easy, and not too dangerous (level of danger dependent on whether or not you are allergic to mold.) The instructions are clear and easy to follow. Though, I didn’t actually try out any of the experiments, I just read about them, therefore I can’t tell you how they work.
What I didn’t like:
The themes are a bit similar and repetitive throughout each of the books. But, in this type of series, it is understandable. Luckily, recap is kept to a minimum and if you want to know back story, each book tells you to see previous works for the full story. They are simple, but very fun.