I will always take a fun space adventure over a hard sci-fi political war story. Space Dumplins may be drawn with grit and textured lines, but it has smooth storytelling and rounded characters to make it an accessible space romp.
Not to say it doesn’t challenge young readers. Space Dumplings brings up class in a way anyone can understand, an uncomfortable topic for most families. Kids deal with the education system on a daily basis as much as they deal with homework, and navigating the social and economic of public/private school dynamics is an unexpected topic Thompson chose to take on.
Violet just wants to fly space crafts. But when her school gets shut down by whale poop, her fashion designer mother wants her to go to a private school so she doesn’t become like her a father, a contractor. Their problems with money keep them from her going to school, and soon her father takes on a job that leads to his disappearance. Violet runs away from home to go after him, but not without the help of Elliot, a scientifically design chicken and Zacchaeus, a funny junkyard orphan of an endangered species.
Craig Thompson packs the pages visually with his trademark brush strokes. Readers will no doubt have to agree that he is one of our generation’s greatest graphic novelists after reading Space Dumplins. His storytelling is strong and his range is broad, and Space Dumplins proves that it doesn’t matter what genre or what age group his work can appeal to.