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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Big Little Blue: Sandypants by Raymond McGrath

Two lovable and lively little penguins dash among the beach and duck the waves as they contemplate three friendship conundrums in this new graphic novel series for younger readers.

Each of the three, simply illustrated stories ponders a question, can you have more than one best friend? What do you do if someone needs space? Can you have a friend for just one day?

Author Raymond McGrath connects each story to a wellbeing theme, offering young readers coping strategies for navigating friendships, understanding emotions and the importance of mindfulness and being yourself.

His bright, bold illustrations come with bucket loads of character and humour, while also portraying the subtle messages. Each story ends with a 'fun friend fact' that builds on the concept within the pages.

McGrath has four children himself and you can tell his own experiences have helped shape this sweet story. He doesn't talk down to his readers, adds plenty of humour but at the same time doesn't shy away from the big feelings and realities our younger ones so often experience when navigating friendships.

The book also introduces younger readers to the graphic novel format and it's perfectly pitched with a slick and sleek layout, super-cute characters, and dialogue that pops off the page. There's plenty of white space and combining that with a restrained colour palette makes for a clean, uncluttered read. I can see this book inspiring our next generation of readers and writers.

Graphic novels are a great resource for those who struggle with reading, allowing them to build their confidence and stamina and encouraging them to dive into reading for fun.

Sandypants is the first in a planned series and it sets the bar high. A delightful, fresh and funny book that will delight readers of all ages and abilities.

Reviewer: Rebekah Lyell



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