Besties Work It Out and Besties Find Their Groove
Kayla Miller’s Click series (five books so far, the latest being Crunch) has a spinoff. That’s the benefit of writing about kids in school — there are more stories to be told about Olive Branche’s sixth grade classmates. Particularly if you bring in a co-writer (Jeffrey Canino) and another artist (Kristina Luu).
Besties Work It Out stars Beth and Chandra, best friends. Chandra’s struggle is parents who consider her older sister near-perfect. She needs them to see her as responsible so they’ll let her adopt a cat. Beth wants to make a little extra money to give her hard-working mother a nice birthday gift. The end result is a petsitting job where the girls get in over their heads.
The cascading consequences keep the story moving with plenty of key visual moments, from fashion shows to a super-cute dog running around. Luu creates similar cuddly-looking, friendly figures as seen in the parent series, and she does a great job capturing their feelings and expressions. The lessons, about personal responsibility, are pretty obvious, particularly once Beth’s older sister starts talking about them.
Besties Work It Out is a comfortable read, where everything works out well for everyone after a bit of mild conflict. There are interview pages at the end where the reader can learn more about how the co-creators work together.
The second book in the spin-off series, Besties Find Their Groove, gives us more information on what makes these girls unique. The first book has a problem that lots of young characters could find themselves in. But here, the challenges are more specific to Chandra and Beth.
It’s school dance time. Chandra is convinced they need dates—just for the pictures, to make the experience perfect. Both of them have no idea what to wear. The result is plenty of humor, underscored by more meaningful character development.
Beth’s size — she’s not skinny — makes it hard for her to find anything that fits her, let alone makes her look and feel good. Chandra wants to wear desi-inspired clothes but can’t find those either. She’s also got to learn to not make herself and her friend crazy searching for perfection.
The messages in this volume are more subtle and integral to the story, making it a more satisfying read. As with the first book, there’s an interview section at the end as well as design sketches.
The two Besties books are worthy companions to the Click series. (The publisher provided review copies. Review originally posted at Good Comics for Kids.)