Louis Shea, Fintastic Four (School of Fish, #1), Scholastic Australia, 128 pp., RRP $15.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781760971106
A mystery is stirring at Shipwreck Primary. New girl Philippa is smart and fast, but why do the teachers seem to be giving her special privileges? And where does she keep going in such a hurry? Finn the shark and his friends are sure there’s something fishy going on and are determined to get to the bottom of it. The truth is revealed when Phillipa rescues Finn from a net. But the story doesn’t end there. It’s almost time for the Great Ocean Race—the race that Blake the bully will do anything (fair or not) to win. But the friends band together, knowing that by using their brilliant minds and Philippa’s super speed they may just have a chance to put bully Blake back in his place.
Fintastic Four, the first book in the School of Fish series, is a fantastic new graphic novel from Sydney-based illustrator Louis Shea. Set underwater with an entertaining cast of assorted sea creatures, the full-colour illustrations are detailed and lively. A fast-paced and exciting book, there is lots to hook young readers in both the words and images. I especially loved the camaraderie of Blake and his friends as they face the wrath of grumpy teachers, and the inclusion of a superhero story-within-a-story. There are moments of danger and intrigue balanced with surprises and humour, perfect for the younger reader.
Along with colourful eye-catching double-page illustrations dispersed throughout the novel, extras such as the full-page teacher profiles and map of the ocean race course add extra interest for children.
Fintastic Four is one of the most engaging graphic novels that I’ve read for this age group, and I’m excited that this will be a series—Book 2 is coming soon.
Recommended for children 6+.
Reviewed by Bec Blakeney