Book Review: Mal and Chad: The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever!

I’m always on the hunt for interesting books to expose my 6-year old son too. He enjoys picture books but the stories are usually short and not very complex. The same can be said for many beginner reader books also. But the jump into chapter books can be a bit abrupt. I think that’s why graphic novels are so appealing; they are like a hybrid of picture books and chapter books. We’ve had a chance to review a few great ones like The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen of the Future and Alison Dare.

Penguin Young Readers’ Mal and Chad: The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever! (age 9-12), written and illustrated by Stephen McCranie, is another great graphic novel for boys (though my girls enjoyed it too). Mal is a goofy geek of a young boy who builds jet packs, rocket ships and time machines in his spare time, along with his talking dog Chad (another of Mal’s inventions). Mal and Chad are best friends, going on many adventures together, including a trip back to the time of the dinosaurs (Mal wanted to see if studying dinosaurs would be something of interest to him as a grown-up).

Mal’s life isn’t all about experiments and scientific discovery; like most geeky boys he has to deal with the bully at school and his crush on the most popular girl in his class, while trying to maintain the guise of being a normal kid.  But one day an event occurs and both worlds collide.

Although Mal and Chad: The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever! Is a little much for my son to read on his own, he was captivated with the story, staying focused until the end. This is a great way to transition kids into stories, like chapter books, that require a longer attention span. Graphic novels, like this, are great for older boys who might be reluctant to give reading a try or who are looking for a fun, light read.

I want to thank Vimala Jeevanandam from Penguin Group Canada for my review copy.

Mal and Chad: The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever!

Written and illustrated by Stephen McCranie

Age 9-12

Penguin Young Readers

Carrie Anne is a contributing book reviewer on Best Tools for School’s blog and No Time for Flash Cards as well as Managing Partner and Editor-in-Chief of You can catch up with her and her three kids on her blog Another Day Another Thought… Or Two.

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