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Book review: 'Hilo: The Great Big Boom' is a middle grader's graphic novel dream

Posted February 25

"HILO: The Great Big Boom," by Judd Winick, Random House, $13.99, 197 pages (f) (ages 8-11)

Continuing where the second book in the Hilo graphic novel series left off, “Hilo: The Great Big Boom” tells the full-color story of D.J. and Hilo as they portal-travel to find their friend Gina. Along the way, they become involved with two warring factions and Hilo starts to remember experiences he thought were forever lost in his mind.

In book two, Gina was sucked into a portal and D.J., a boy from Earth, and Hilo, a living machine from another planet, were committed to bringing her back to Earth. Their quest continues in this third book and recounts what happens when they travel to the planet Oshun to rescue Gina. Once there, they meet a familiar face and learn that they haven’t left danger back on Earth.

Throughout their quest, Hilo has flashbacks to his earlier days, and while these experiences bring hope to his friends, they only worry him. Hilo isn’t sure he wants to regain his memory but, at the urging of D.J., he decides to seek out one who can help him remember.

Author Judd Winick’s fun graphic novel has a magical combination of super powers, portal-hopping, mystery and action that can delight kids of all ages. Hilo’s story is easy and entertaining to follow and, although this is book three of a planned six-part series, it’s easy to jump into the story and catch on to previous events.

“Hilo: The Great Big Boom” has no romance and zero profanity. There are a handful of slight crudities, but potty humor is kept at bay. Although geared toward middle grade readers, this book is one that can delight ages both younger and older than the intended audience.

Winick lives in San Francisco with his wife and two children. A lover of art from a young age, his cartoons have won several awards.

Elizabeth Reid has bachelor's degrees in economics and history. A wife and mother, she loves learning people's love stories and blogs about her own at agoodreid.blogspot.com.

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