The Unsinkable Walker Bean by Aaron Renier

walker bean
Ahoy, maties! If you’re looking for a top notch adventure with despicable pirates, clever girls, courageous dudes, brave dogs, horrifying sea monsters and cursed skulls, well, you’ve come to the right place. Aaron Renier of Spiral-Bound fame has drawn and penned a gorgeous full-color GN that chronicles the tall tale of one Walker Bean, who is darned lucky to be unsinkable because he has an enormous talent for getting into trouble. It all starts when Walker’s beloved grandpa falls deathly ill. Turns out he set eyes on an enchanted skull that came from the deep underwater trench between the mysterious Mango Islands. The trench is home to the dreaded merwich sisters Tartessa and Remora, and the skull was part of their endless collection of bones of the dead who had the misfortune of meeting up with them. Anyone who dares look at the skull either sees the future, becomes fatally ill or both. Walker’s grandpa knows the only way to save himself and his seaside town is to get the bonehead back to its cave sweet cave. Because when he looked into the empty eye sockets, he also saw into his future. And what he saw was the two hideous sisters climbing out of their watery hole and coming to claim their property, destroying everything in their path. Walker’s dad, a navy officer, thinks it’s all bunk and wants to sell the valuable bone to the highest bidder. So Grandpa begs Walker to hide the skull and find a way to return it to its gruesome owners. Walker sets off, but is soon sidelined by everything from a boatload of pirates to a sassy sword wielding deckhand named Genoa who may be a girl but who can still kick his butt six ways to Sunday. It’s going to take all of Walker’s considerable powers of imagination to figure out a way to outsmart his father, save his grandpa and keep the merwitches down with the Titanic where they belong. Can he do it? Of course, because we already know from the title that Mr. Walker Bean is UNSINKABLE! Bespectacled Walker is a lovable nerd hero of the first order, with his journals full of invention ideas and his, well, less than “Situation” physique. This fast-paced, hyper-detailed action adventure is fun for the whole family. I mean it, I can seriously see both your bratty little sibs and your tyrannical parents trying to arm wrestle you for it, it’s just that entertaining. I couldn’t stop pouring over the intricately detailed panels, especially the double-paged spreads, which are eye-popping in color and scope and reminded me in the best possible way of one my most favorite childhood reads.  Soon to be sailing into a library or bookstore near you!

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