The Unsinkable Walker Bean

by Aaron Renier

Other authorsAaron Renier (Illustrator)
Paperback, 2010




First Second, (2010)


Walter Bean is happiest when he gets to spend time tinkering on his inventions in his grandfather's workshop, but when his grandfather acquires a curse, Walter must embark on dangerous quest to return a pearl skull to the witches who made it.

User reviews

LibraryThing member pmacsmith
This story is filled with lots of excitement and adventure to keep the reader engaged until the very end. Recommended for grades 5 and up.
LibraryThing member kivarson
At the behest of his ailing Grandpa, Admiral Bean, young Walker braves pirates, his dull-witted father and menacing monsters to return a crystal skull back to the lair of the evil merwitch sisters.
LibraryThing member prkcs
Walter Bean is happiest when he gets to spend time tinkering on his inventions in his grandfather's workshop, but when his grandfather acquires a curse, Walter must embark on dangerous quest to return a pearl skull to the witches who made it.
LibraryThing member ElizaJane
Reason for Reading: My son loves seafaring tales and this looked wonderful.

This is a beautiful book to behold. The illustrations are so bold, vibrant and full of details. The panels have so much going on in the background that one can look into them and see something new each time. We are even treated to the occasional two-page spread illustration. While some of these may be focused on a large central figure, the background will still hold many small details that one should linger on so as not to miss, but on the other hand there are a couple of amazingly intricately detailed two-page spreads that just make you want to keep looking to see what you are missing before turning the page.

Walker Bean has been sent off to sea by his grandfather, who has commanded Walker's father to return a cursed skull to its rightful place. Knowing that the father will not follow through, probably sell it somewhere, Walker is charged with making sure the job gets done. You see, grandfather bought that skull, looked at it and is now near death's door unless it is returned to its guardians. What follows is a rip-roaring yarn full of sea adventure mostly of the perilous kind.

While the story is not a fantasy per se, one must be able to suspend reality while reading of Walker Bean's adventures as they are of the most bizarre nature. Be prepared to meet pirates, a pirate girl who has turned the bow of the ship into a garden complete with lemon tree, great monstrous sea hags of legend and a cursed skull to begin with. Walker is a congenial protagonist who will appeal to all readers, wearing glasses, pudgy, reluctantly on the mission, but brave and determined. On the pirate ship Walker teams up with similarly aged Shiv and Genoa. Shiv is a humorous side-kick who knows his way around a pirate ship and comes up with great plans. Gen on the other-hand is a rather frightening, aggressive girl with red pigtails who is a delightfully enchanting character. Just loved her!

A great story and fantastic art combined with thrilling action and outrageously fun characters make this an entertaining seafaring adventure.
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LibraryThing member abbylibrarian
Just not my cup of tea. This is a rip-roaring piratical fantasy adventure story, for sure. The art just wasn't my style. And there was just a lot going on. I'd try this one on fans of adventure graphic novels or pirate stories.
LibraryThing member akmargie
The art and lettering was kinda messy and disorganized while the story was a little too all over the place. Not my favorite.
LibraryThing member RalphLagana
Place me in the minority but this adventure on the high seas didn't work for me. I couldn't seem to have any enthusiasm for this book. The art was not to my liking. The characters looked murky or simply off-putting, liked they'd stepped out of an Edvard Munch painting. The numerous half blurbs of the characters also didn't work for me. I gave this to my 10-year-old to read wondering if maybe I was too adult for the "magic" of the story and he didn't have much to say about it. He is a tremendous reader too. I dislike knocking the work of other authors but I can't seem to find a great deal to enjoy with this one. Maybe if we could use half stars here, I'd give it 2.5.

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LibraryThing member CarolyneBegin
I liked this graphic novel very much and can't wait to see what happens. It follows the journey of a young boy named Walker Bean as he tries to return a skull that has special powers to its rightful owners. When people set eyes on the skull they become very sick and it must be returned in order to save them. Walker's grandfather once had the skull in his possession and is very ill. Walker must find the owners at sea and return the skull to save him. Along the way he meets some friends and uses his imagination to solve his problems. I thought these were the best qualities of the book. Walker never gives up and tries to do the right thing. He is a great character to learn from and look up to.
I also liked the artwork too. I don't usually like this type of graphic art. I find the pages too glossy and computer generated but I think it works for children's graphic novels. The colors are bright and appealing due to this technique. I loved the detail that was in the images. I could spend a lot of time looking at them as could a child. I would recommend it for children that are a little older, between the ages of 7 and 10, since some of these images are a little scary.
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LibraryThing member zzshupinga
Walker is a young boy back when pirates still roamed the 7 seas and the British Navy was the avowed military master of the world. Walker's grandfather has come across a mysterious skull that is said to be from Atlantis and poses powers of the unknown...but the grandfather has become deathly ill after looking into the skull and asks Walter to return it to whence it came. Along the way Walker meets up with pirates, a mysterious doctor, and two ancient merwitches that want the skull back and will do all they can to get it. It's a high roaring adventure that is sure to captivate those that wish they could go back in time...when pirates and merwitches still roamed the seas.

"The Unsinkable Walker Bean" is a page turning adventure and it's mostly a well written story...but it has some gaps in the tale into who some of the characters are. And I say this because its a central part of the tale, the doctor, the skull and the merwitches...we're told one thing about them, but it proves false but with nothing left to fill in the gap. Perhaps there will be a sequel where the gaps will be filled in and I hope there will be...but until then the story is left unfinished
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