From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 5-8–This intense mystery-adventure coming-of-age chapter book is done in comic-book style–something of a departure for Wood. Two brothers, Duffy and Sumo, are sent to Hawaii to visit their mysterious aunt, who hustles them off on a perilous expedition into the bowels of an erupting volcano, accompanied by strangers whose skills are obvious, but whose trustworthiness is not. The dangers the boys face are terrifying, especially an interlude during which Sumo, wracked by guilt and indecision after he thinks his brother has fallen to his death, is trapped in the dark on an underground cliff and is visited by the specter of Death. That the children, who appear to be 10 or 12, have been exposed to such peril knowingly by an adult who has been entrusted with their care is a dark vein running through the story. Wood's vividly colored artwork brings the perils the siblings face into startling focus. Keenly observed depictions of the Hawaiian landscape and geological processes lend an impressive veracity to this exciting and unusual offering. It is a rare example of a graphic novel for young people that is neither manga nor mainstream.–Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD
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*Starred Review* Brothers Duffy and Sumo Pugg embark on an adventure after their eccentric aunt invites them to come see the island of Kocalaha, their mother’s birthplace. Duffy, excited to get away from the gloomy winter in their hometown, jumps at the chance, but Sumo is worried: a lot of things could go wrong so far away from home. The boys are taken into the heart of a volcano to explore and learn more about their heritage, but the seemingly dormant volcano is in the midst of waking up. The situation quickly becomes perilous, and between the volcano’s power and shocking revelations of family secrets, it appears neither boy will make it out alive. With such a thrilling story, Wood scores points for both pacing and characterization. The action moves along at breakneck speed, and through all of the twists and turns, the reader is left wondering if the boys will survive. The art is beautifully rendered in thick bold lines and a rich color palette and is a nice break from the mainstream comic style. Although this adventure may be a little too scary for younger readers on their own, it makes a fun book for parents and children to share together. Grades 4-7. --Tina Coleman