Saturday, November 28, 2009

Review - Joey Fly, Private Eye by Aaron Reynolds

JoeyFlyJoey Fly, Private Eye: Creepy Crawly Crime
Aaron Reynolds
Henry Holt and Company
96 p. (author supplied)

Joey Fly attempts to solve the mystery of the missing pencil box with the help of his un-helpful sidekick, Sammy Stingtail.

Neil Numberman illustrates this graphic novel in an eye-catching way: monochromatic coloring. This gives the book an old-fashioned feel - fitting in with the story of an old time private eye, very film noir-ish. I loved it. At the end of the book there's a list of 16 things readers can find throughout the book. A very nice touch!

My Thoughts
Joey Fly is funny in a Sam Spade-ish way: snappy one-liners and lots of wordplay. The story moves quickly. Joey hires an assistant, gets a client and goes about teaching Sammy all the rules of being a detective. Along the way, we are able to fit the pieces together, just as Joey and Sammy are solving the crime. I thought there was just enough bug humor to be funny but not tiring.

Since the characters are bugs, you can't really get to know them. But Numberman's drawings were able to portray a little sense of each bug. Joey was stern but soft-hearted and you could see that in the shape of his eyes. Sammy's eyes made him look like he would get in trouble as soon as you turned your back on him and he does. Each of the women in the story, Delilah, Gloria, and Flittany, had eyes and body shapes that mimicked their character traits. I thought Numberman did a good job of matching the drawings to the story.

I would give Joey Fly 3 copies. It would work with some of my younger students or for students to read when they visit the elementary school. We use Don't Feed the Bully for our 6th grade anti-bullying program and I think this book would be a good follow-up novel for some of the students because they use a similar humor style. There's also a teacher's guide!

About the Author and Illustrator
areynoldsAaron Reynolds is a human, not a bug, but he often writes about bugs. He is the author of Chicks and Salsa, Superhero School, Buffalo Wings, and, of course, the Joey Fly, Private Eye graphic novels. Visit him at his website at
Neil Numberman is a termite currently residing in New York City. Joey Fly, Private Eye is his first graphic novel, but he is also the author/illustrator of the picture book Do NOT Build a Frankenstein. Stop by his website at

Joey Fly Book Trailer

Fun with Joey and Sammy
Joey and Sammy are on Twitter! Click the pictures to follow them!

Would you like to know how a Graphic Novel is made?


  1. This looks great! What a fun book and a greta review.

  2. What a great book! Love the idea and the PI bugs. Remember Mosquito Incognito? That is what it reminds me of a little.


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