Aaron Blabey, master of the mischievous Pig the Pug picture books, is also the talented writer of The Bad Guys book series. Targeted at early readers, the stories are cleverly worded and shine, more so, through expressive illustration.
These Bad Guys are bad. They look like Brooklyn mobsters, talk tough and are used to eating whatever gets in their way. The leader of the pack is Mr Wolf – bad guy turned (or turning) good, who wants to make amends for his past. He takes desperate measures to make the gang follow in his newly found, heroic footsteps. Others in the gang are Mr Shark, Mr Snake and the deadliest of all, Mr Piranha (are you smelling a hint of Tarantino here, too?). At the heart of the story is Mr Wolf’s desire to be a ‘good guy’, seeking redemption from when he ate that little girl in a red hood. Can these ultra baddies change so easily? Not an easy task, especially when everyone is terrified of being rescued by animals that like to eat them!
The language is simple and speaks directly to the reader. The text is mostly in dialogue, making it a highly engaging, fun adventure. The opening lines had me hooked, as the reader is summoned by Mr Wolf to pay attention...
‘Psst! Hey, you! Yeah, you. Get over here.’
Blabey’s skill is in his comic delivery. I laughed out loud on almost every page. Eight year old junior in my house read books one to four in just one sitting. The Bad Guys are perfect first chapter books for even the most reluctant readers.
Check out the trailer for The Bad Guys here.