by Andy Wolverton
If you think the cover of The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza looks silly, wait until you hear the premise: the Glorkian Warrior gets a phone call from Destiny to deliver a pizza. But this isn’t just any pizza; it’s a leftover peanut butter and clam pizza. Daring and unafraid (and mostly clueless), the Glorkian Warrior — with his trusty sidekick Super Backpack — ventures into the vast unknown where he will battle a pink giant, an enormous spaceship, and a baby alien. Sound silly? It is, wonderfully silly.
The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza is a madcap, colorful tale of glorious silliness, imagination, and fun. Kochalka’s colors are bold, vibrant, and welcoming to young readers, with wavy purple landscapes that make you think you’re in a universe of cotton candy. The Glorkian Warrior is so non-threatening — a skinny pink guy with pencil-thin arms and legs wearing a baby blue spacesuit — you can’t help but like him. Super Backpack, the real brains of the story, keeps the Glorkian Warrior focused. (Well, he tries to….)
Kochalka (Johnny Boo, Dragon Puncher, Monkey vs. Robot) understands how kids think and how their minds can easily jump from one idea, concept, or situation to another. He keeps the story moving even when the plot doesn’t seem to be going exactly in a straight line. Kochalka allows plenty of opportunities for readers to linger in the silliness, the goofiness, and the clever wordplay, yet never loses the focus of the quest. Not only are the drawings clear and colorful, the lettering looks like the type of lettering kids would make. I can’t help but think kids might not only imagine, “Hey, I can read this!” but also, “Hey, I can write this!”
As a librarian in a public library, I spend a lot of time taking to parents about how they can help reluctant readers become lifelong readers. Graphic novels are often a great way to make that transition, and The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza is a good example of a book that can help meet that need. Sure, it’s silly fun, which many kids love, but the book is also smart in that it’s arranged to make kids experience success and confidence in reading it. Many of the pages contain only a few panels, which makes for a faster-moving reading experience. Although some pages contain several panels with many words, these usually contain some of the funniest banter between the Glorkian Warrior and Super Backpack, which probably won’t seem burdensome to young readers. Plus, First Second has divided the graphic novel into chapters, giving kids the feeling that they are reading a chapter book as much as they are a graphic novel.
The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza may be the perfect book for kids who aren’t quite ready to read graphic novels and books like Adventure Time, Captain Underpants, or the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. For kids (and adults) looking for good, silly fun, you can’t beat The Glorkian Warrior.
Get your copy of The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza as well as other titles by James Kochalka: