From School Library Journal
Grade 3–6—In the tradition of great adventure stories, this charming offering starts off with a detailed map of Chowder Bay, a quintessential slice of coastal Maine. Brothers Benny and Jack are about to discover that their quaint summer vacation spot is not as boring as it first appears. Benny first realizes that there is a mystery to solve when a lobster pops out of the salt-water taffy bin at the local candy store and pinches him on the hand. After meeting Angus O'Neil, a burly fisherman with a broad, confident grin and a pipe in hand, the boys learn of the legend of Old Salty, a monstrous sea creature. The adventure kicks off from here as they tackle the town's mysteries head-on. The appealingly angular and thick-lined art gives the characters a bounding energy. Benny and Jack are especially kinetic, with exuberance bursting from their jutting chins, gangly limbs, and floppy hairdos. In contrast, Chowder Bay is drawn with more detailed and delicate care, bringing the flavor of this salty port town to life. With its strong art and nicely paced action, this book will surely appeal to a wide audience.—Lauren Anduri, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
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At first brothers Jack, 11, and Benny, 8, think that vacationing in the little coastal town of Chowder Bay, Maine, can only lead to a bleak, boring summer, an impression reinforced by the discovery that their summer home lacks a television. Things turn around, however, when the boys meet fisherman Angus O’Neil, who assures them he has seen the local sea monster, Old Salty. When the town’s taffy shop is looted of its sweets, Angus and the boys set out to solve the mystery and also hunt down the monster. Loux, the creator of Sidescrollers (2006), dishes up an entertaining, exciting story for young graphic-novel readers. Jack and Benny are both easy to identify with, and their relationship is believable, even given the wacky adventures that ensue. The high-contrast black-and-white art, accomplished with bold line work, is used to good effect, displaying a fluidity while still remaining quirky and fun. A good pick for children just getting used to independent reading. Grades 2-4. --Tina Coleman