- Jessica Farrow
Sharks. Snakes. Piranhas. Wolves. What do all these have in common? They're bad guys. In fact, they're really bad guys. They are never, ever, ever good guys. But, what if they were tired of being bad guys? What if Mr. Wolf decided he'd like to try being a good guy...perhaps even a hero? That's the question in Aaron Blabey's The Bad Guys.
Join the (formerly Big and Bad) Wolf as he attempts to convince his fellow bad guys to change their ways and become the heroes he knows they are—very, very deep down. They'll have to battle through hugs, cat scratches, and the occasional untimely fart as they launch a daring rescue to give 200-pound puppies a new life. Will they make it? Can they change their villainous ways and become The Good Guys?
Blabey's sparse, dialogue-based text pairs perfectly with hysterical black-and-white sketches of the team's attempts to reinvent themselves. The Bad Guys employs the same sort of tongue-in-cheek humor found in Mo Willem's Pigeon series but is written for a crowd just beginning to try out chapter books. The text is simple enough to not be overwhelming, without feeling unnecessarily juvenile. Readers of all ages will find themselves laughing at the illustrations of Wolf's potentially misguided exuberance and the Three Stooges-style mishaps and misfortunes that befall the would-be heroes.
Fans of The Bad Guys will devour the rest of the series and can find more hilarity in series such as Cyndi Marko's Kung Pow Chicken and Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants. For more humorous takes on "bad guy" characters, try Aaron Reynolds' Carnivores and Jon Scieszka's The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.