Playground: Attack of the Gurglebots
Created & Written by Adam Rose
Illustrated by Charles Toefield
Colors & Letters by Shauna Klebesadel
Additional Art, Colors, & Lettering by
David Pentland, Trevor A. Smith & Shauna Klebesadel
An All Ages graphic novel and/or potential series that targets children ages 7 and UP. Fun for the whole family, Playground and Hobby Squad encourage a return to outdoor activities and old school hands on hobbies through the use of timeless (in some cases: forgotten) childhood playground games, unplugged/ hands on hobbies, and healthier eating. Playground and Hobby Squad send the subtle message to kids, moms, and dads alike to rediscover what it means to simply have fun getting dirty on the playground of life!
If a meteor falls in the middle of a garden & irradiates the broccoli, does anyone hear it? Maybe not, but if you eat the broccoli you might wind up with superpowers based on the rules of popular playground games you played as a kid. At least, this is what happens when Felix Tremendez gets the munchies. Now all Felix has to do is call out the game, “Red Light, Green Light” for instance. Then when he shouts “Red Light!” everyone around him is frozen in place until he calls “Green Light”. As we all know, every hero needs a nemesis, and Felix must face the wrath of Principal Strict and his army of Gurglebots- robots that transform from the numerous Gurgle Soda vending machines around the school.
Definitely geared for younger readers, Playground is a cheery comicbook where the colors are bright and the action doesn’t result in anything much more dire than sugar induced tummy aches (one of Principal Strict’s superpowers, believe it or not). The characters are mainly Felix, his precocious friends, and the nefarious principal, and the conflict they find themselves locked into is destined to last only until the bell signals the end of recess.
Adam Rose should be congratulated for having the motivation to come up with stories that young kids can enjoy. He should be granted Sainthood for making it relatively painless to the adults who may be reading the stories to said kids. For a writer to decide to tackle writing for children would have to be a challenge, because there can’t be much doubt that adults just don’t think like kids. We seem to lose that gift somewhere around puberty (kind of a lousy trade off, but I’m not the one in charge), but it looks like Rose has a handle on his inner child. Maybe he’s got kids of his own he was able to tap into for inspiration.
The main story, Attack of the Gurglebots, is ably drawn by Charles Toefield, with Shauna Klebesadel picking up the coloring and lettering duties. The secondary stories, Playground, Checkmate & Hobby Squad, are illustrated/lettered/colored by David Pentland, Trevor A. Smith, & Shauna Klebesadel respectively. In every case, the artwork reflects the tone of the stories, with everything handled in bright tones and interesting styles. Nothing so over the top as to result in a saccharine induced coma, or any other sugary malady, but more to engage the young and young at heart.
My bottom line here is that Playground would be a great addition to any youthful bookshelf, totally suitable for story time either alone or with a participating adult. All that said, I do feel the need to cleanse the palate with something more explodey… maybe with spaceships and ray guns.