Mr. Smarty Pants: Aww Nuts!

Lerner/Soaring Kite. Sept. 2024. 56p. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781958372494.
Gr 3-7–Young inventor Benjamin Carver III strives to emulate his namesake George Washington Carver—who happens to be his great-great-great uncle. Even so, Ben prefers the moniker Mr. Smarty Pants. He spends his time creating in his garage, trying to navigate his peanut butter allergy and fighting his arch nemesis Deon, aka Dark Midnight, with his sidekicks Peter and Jemma. Deon has a chance at growth but quickly backslides, creating an opening for a sequel. Readers will enjoy Ben’s inventions, the side characters, and touches of humor. The realities of living with a peanut allergy are well demonstrated, along with teamwork and friendship. Done in a traditional comic book format, with speech bubbles and narration, this book shines with well-drawn, expressive characters and a palette that leans dark and moody but still feels youthful. Ben and his family are Black, and most of the other characters are people of color.
VERDICT Add to collections where STEM-themed graphic novels are in demand.

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