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Mal and Chad: The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever!

Mal and Chad: The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever!

5.0 1
by Stephen McCranie

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In the tradition of Calvin and Hobbes, MAL AND CHAD is a funny comic-strip graphic novel that makes a perfect first chapter book!

Mal is a super kid genius and Chad is a talking dog, but no one knows it. What's it like to be so extraordinary and yet so invisible? Not even Megan, Mal's secret crush, has any idea that Mal is anything more than a dork.


In the tradition of Calvin and Hobbes, MAL AND CHAD is a funny comic-strip graphic novel that makes a perfect first chapter book!

Mal is a super kid genius and Chad is a talking dog, but no one knows it. What's it like to be so extraordinary and yet so invisible? Not even Megan, Mal's secret crush, has any idea that Mal is anything more than a dork. Fortunately, Mal and Chad are best friends with a penchant for adventure . . . even if the time-traveling does get them grounded by Mal's mom.

Introducing the first in a series of illustrated chapter books by talented newcomer Stephen McCranie that are laugh-inducing, clever, and full of heart. Give this to any kid who's a reluctant reader or is just leaving picture books and be prepared to answer the question: "When can I read the next one?"

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Malcolm (better known as "Mal") is an elementary school supergenius who has taught his dog, Chad, to talk and regularly makes inventions that grownup scientists wish they could create. However, no one seems aware of Mal's abilities (or the fact the dog can speak), so he keeps his time machine and mini-mega-morpher a secret between himself and his loyal canine friend. The charm and humor come from Mal's adventurous streak: when the teacher assigns her students an essay on what they want to be when they grow up, Mal takes it very literally, as he shrinks himself and swims in the dishwater to see if he might want to be a scuba diver. From there he considers becoming an archeologist and goes back in time millions of years thanks to his time-travel machine, adventuring with dinosaurs. McCranie's art is loose, but his characters are expressive and fun. The amusing situations and snappy back and forth between Mal and Chad—"I am not a crypuppy!"—make this a winner. Ages 9–12. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Fans of Calvin and Hobbes will gravitate to this graphic-novel chapter book featuring an inventive kid and his talking dog. Mal has typical social trouble at school, hiding his intelligence and struggling to make his feelings known to a cute girl while trying to avoid the class blowhard. His single mom doesn't seem to be very supportive, sending him to bed without supper, threatening to ground him, and spanking him in the first three chapters, but these travails set him up as an underdog who will prevail in the end. Mal's great ideas are augmented by his miraculous inventions (shrink ray, jet pack, time machine), which take him and his dog, Chad, on exciting adventures to exotic locales, all in service to the overall story line. The great buddy relationship and some sweet moments (look for the pals dancing to the elevator music in the time machine) keep readers emotionally connected.—Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD
Children's Literature - Michael Jung PhD
When you're smart enough to turn your mom's old vacuum cleaner into a shrinking machine, create lollipops that let you breathe underwater, or install a homemade jetpack in your backpack, every day is an adventure—as boy genius Mal and his talking dog Chad discover in this first volume of a forthcoming "Mal and Chad" graphic novel series. When his teacher asks him to write a report on what he wants to be when he grows up, Mal feels confused. With a brain like his, he could excel in practically any occupation, but which one should he choose? To decide, Mal and Chad shrink themselves down and go swimming in the kitchen sink (to see if he'd like to be a deep-sea explorer) and travel to the age of dinosaurs in Mal's elevator/time machine (to get a taste of paleontology). But when Mal's school rival Zachary gets his hands on the time machine and accidentally rips a hole in the fabric of time, Mal must use his super-smart brain to save his classmates and make sure they survive long enough to grow up at all! McCranie offers a fine blend of elementary school angst and whimsical adventure in his first graphic novel, which contains echoes of popular children's comics like Kazu Kibuishi's Copper and even Japan's classic manga series Doraemon with its dorky but likeable boy hero, wisecracking animal friend, and plethora of magical inventions. Fun whimsical humor will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next installment. Reviewer: Michael Jung, PhD
Kirkus Reviews
Shy, geeky preteen Malcolm's efforts to hide his super-intelligence repeatedly fall afoul of mishaps involving a series of spectacular inventions in this web comic crossover. With one such device Mal teaches his dog Chad to talk, and his "Yum Sauce" makes even dog food delicious. Unfortunately, those are about the only times anything goes right, as his jet-powered backpack blasts a hole in the roof, his (single) mom comes home unexpectedly while he and Chad have shrunk themselves to the size of ants with a "Mini-Mega-Morpher" and a time machine made from a junked elevator nearly strands both the adventurous pair and crushworthy classmate Megan back in dinosaur times. Meanwhile, he's demolished in gym class by Megan's famous "Flaming Dodge Bomb." In mulling over a "What do you want to be when you grow up?" assignment, he ultimately concludes that what he wants to "be" is different from what he'll want to "do," and it's too soon to tell about either. Like the art in the original pen-and-ink editions of Jeff Smith'sBonecomics (1995-2004), McCranie's heavy lined cartoon panels feature expressively drawn figures and easy-to-follow sequencing but look unfinished sans coloring. Still, boy and equally irrepressible dog make an engaging pair, and, along with witty writing, there's plenty of action both physical and emotional. Sequels will not be amiss.(Graphic fiction. 10-12)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Mal and Chad , #1
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Sales rank:
GN400L (what's this?)
File size:
71 MB
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

Meet the Author

Stephen McCranie lives in New Mexico. Mal and Chad was first created for Stephen's college newspaper.

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Mal and Chad: The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever! 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago