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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

HiLo Book 2: Saving the Whole Wide World, by Judd Winick. Random House, 2016. $17.99 ages 6 and up

 "He stopped a bunch
of evil robots
from destroying Earth.

It was hard, but his job
on his planet is stopping
bad robots. So he's pretty
good at it.

Then he was gone."

The first in the HiLo series, The Boy Who Crashed to Earth, garnered fans for Judd Winick, and a huge number of readers who have been anxiously awaiting this new volume. As with other sequels, readers hope that the new book will meet their expectations and provide as much enjoyment and wonder as the first. I did not read the first, but I know many readers who are going to be very pleased with its sequel.

Daniel Jackson (D.J.) remains content to be average, despite the fact that his siblings are all much more accomplished than he is. We know him to be a friend, daring and trustworthy which is shown in the relationship he has with HiLo. HiLo is not fully aware of his many powers and has memory lapses. Trying to fit in is an almost impossible task when you are a robot boy.

After their last adventure, HiLo returns to create chaos at school with D.J. and Gina as he tries to fit in with the others. It's a near impossible task. D.J. wants to keep him away from bullies and Gina concerns herself with his random actions. And that's at school.

Around town portals are opening and allowing entrance to strange beings whose presence is disconcerting, to say the least. One of them, Polly, tries to help, as does D.J.'s sister, Lily. Full of action and humor, and without adult help, the kids work hard to make the monsters retreat. Razorwork, their leader, is not pleased. HiLo's encounters with Razorwork evoke visions that bring fear and sadness.

Sequels can be off-putting. That is not the case here. At the same time, this second volume stands on its own as a story filled with charm, humor, action, tragedy, and some great characters. I like the way the friendship stays strong and even grows. HiLo is a genuine character whose food choices and word use make the reader stop and think. D.J. is a grand friend who supports and defends HiLo through all of their escapades. Gina keeps her cool and tries to help them do the same.

Readers will love the details that the author uses to express emotions, to vary the settings, and to create unique and compelling creatures. Guy Major gives life through his vibrant colors. This is perfect fare for those kids who love graphic novels.  Give it to fans, and be sure to ask if they are ready for the next one, set for release in 2017. I bet they will be!

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