The Bloodhound Boys : The Great Blood Bank Robbery by Andrew Cranna

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Walker Books Australia, 2013. ISBN 9781922179302.
A Graphic novel primary aged cartoon and adventure enthusiasts will enjoy.
With a title like this what boy would not be tempted to pick up the book and at least flick through the first few pages. There they will see black and white cartoons much like they might draw featuring a myriad of monstrous characters living underground in Skull River City. The main characters, are six school friends, Rocky Werewolf, Vampire Vince, Gretel Ghoul, Ancient Archie (a mummy), Luci Fer and Loch Ness Leo, who enjoy a Bloodshake at The Headless Horseman cafe after a stirring game of skullball.
Unfortunately the pipes delivering blood to the cafe are empty and soon the friends find out about the Blood Bank Robbery. Vince and Rocky decide to investigate. Rocky's dad works in security and they have access to the Bank and they are motivated by their friend Gretel who suffers a rare blood disease and is in danger of dying unless she can access a regular supply of fresh blood. The adventure continues with many twists and turns including saving a dinosaur, finding Vince's Dad who disappeared years ago and challenging the Mosquito King.
The story is told through the cartoons complete with backgrounds and speech bubbles and of course the inevitable sound effects without recourse to linking captions. The characters, whilst monsters are charming and expressive as they rise to the challenges before them.
I can see the book being popular with students looking for a simple but at times amusing dialogue who will enjoy and be tempted to emulate the cartoon style and create their own version.
Sue Keane