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Mal and Chad: Food Fight!

Mal and Chad: Food Fight!

5.0 2
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 kid genius with a talking dog . . . so why doesn't anyone seem to notice him?

Poor Mal. It's not easy being a kid genius who wears a lab coat to school ("It's not a bathrobe!"). Megan, his not-so-secret crush


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 kid genius with a talking dog . . . so why doesn't anyone seem to notice him?

Poor Mal. It's not easy being a kid genius who wears a lab coat to school ("It's not a bathrobe!"). Megan, his not-so-secret crush, has formed a club that has a no-boys-allowed policy - especially not Mal, who would do anything to feel like he belongs. Fortunately, Mal always has Chad, his talking dog. When Chad begins having scary dreams, Mal builds a dream portal to defeat Chad's nightmare beast once and for all. Something goes wrong, though, and the beast follows Mal back to reality. Now Megan and her friends are in danger . . . but Mal is there to come to the rescue, showing that, just maybe, he's someone to pay attention to. With kid-friendly humor and a deft touch, Stephen McCranie continues his breakthrough series perfect for any kid who's one book away from either Big Nate or Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Erika Clark
Mal has a crush on his classmate Meghan and will do anything to impress her, even create his own clubhouse. But when Zachary kicks him out of his own club after losing a game of hide-and-seek against Meghan and the girls, he goes on a quest to start his own club. Meanwhile after school, Mal helps Chad find the scary and enormous feline monster that turns his dreams into nightmares. As a secretly genius kid, he creates a portal that will help him travel into Chad's dreams. Like a radio picking up radio waves, this machine used brain waves to travel into Chad's dream and encounter the monster that has been haunting him. But when Chad takes a nap and the feline monster escapes through the portal, entering the real world, Mal and Chad encounter sleepless nights. A great graphic novel that teachers can use to teach students how they can use literary elements in their writing and how to read/identify literary elements in a given piece of work. For instance, McCranie did an excellent job including a mountainous amount of onomatopoeias and words that represent actions and sounds in the story. The author also used illustrations to highlight the characters' emotions and to exaggerate the characters' actions. Finally, McCranie makes the most of artistically using the space, gutter, and panels to help readers paint a mental picture of the scenes and to follow the plot of the story with ease and flow.
School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—Mal is a secret genius inventor in a lab coat and Chad is his pooch companion and best friend. In this volume, which lacks sufficient background for new readers, Mal is jealous of the secret codes that the neighborhood girls use to communicate, and in response he tries to start a club of his own with limited success. Also, he tries to help Chad banish his nightmarish fear of cats but inadvertently lets a monster feline into the real world. Drawn with a clear, lively line redolent—but not imitative—of Jeff Smith or Chris Eliopoulos, the visuals are fun and engaging and allow for a loose, unhurried humor. The story takes a few interesting twists and has some nicely observed details to go along with the punch lines. The characters lack any real depth or humanity, though, and fall down on the side of more obvious, surface characterizations. Mal's crush on Megan is particularly flummoxing, as it takes Megan the lion's share of the book to do anything that isn't cold or even vicious. Well paced, with a good variety of both stakes and scale, and rendered with effective and emotive line work, the story will find broad appeal among its target audience; it's too bad that the lack of character depth will prevent it from finding a crossover or all-ages audience that the art might merit.—Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NH
Kirkus Reviews
There are some literary characters you wish were real, so that you could be friends with them, and Mal and Chad may belong on that list. Talking dogs are the subject of a lot of jokes, but they have feelings, too. Chad, for example, has two shameful secrets: He's frightened by his dreams, and he's afraid of cats. Every night, he dreams he's being chased by a cat of monstrous size. Luckily, his best friend is Mal, who's invented a machine that lets them walk into dreams, and the two of them can face the monster together. Dream sequences are a gold mine for a cartoonist. McCranie has seized the chance to fit every item in his sketchbook into the story. The high point is a forest made out of snack food. Mal immediately starts making snow angels in the chocolate-chip ice cream. The inventions and talking animals may remind some readers of Calvin and Hobbes, but surprisingly, the graphic novel doesn't suffer much from the comparison. The timing isn't quite as sharp as Bill Watterson's, but some panels achieve a poignancy that makes this its own kind of story. Some readers will come for the heartbreak, others will come for the forest of cupcake trees, but everyone will be cheered by the happy ending, which involves the "biggest, bestest bark ever!" (Graphic novel. 8-11)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Mal and Chad Series , #2
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Sales rank:
GN420L (what's this?)
File size:
83 MB
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

Meet the Author

Stephen McCranie (www.malandchad.com) lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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Mal and Chad: Food Fight! 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome great what more can i say
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't wait because I read the first and loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My first grade son loves these books! He couldn't put it down and finished in the day he got it. I really hope the author continues to add to the series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is it a comic book? Can't wait to fead it