REVIEW: Salt Water Taffy

Salt Water Taffy (The Seaside Adventures of Jack and Benny)
Book 1: The Legend of Old Salty

by Matthew Loux
Reviewed by Kailyn Kent

If you are ready for vacation, read these books now: Salt Water Taffy is one of those series that carries summer in its pages.

"The Legend of Old Salty" is the first account of brothers Jack and Bennys’ summer break on the coast of Maine. It captures the spirit of family trips from the get-go. The brothers’ soon find that their summer retreat is very mysterious—and home to the creatures of old American tall tales. The author and artist, Matthew Loux, really honors what we readers want. While he could have explained the strange occurrences with normal causes, he instead explores the reality of myths.

The artwork is beautiful, especially the backgrounds, and he draws people stylistically. His action scenes are well developed and easy to follow. And as for the writing, the dialogue is very funny. Only at one point is the story condescending, or parent-y, when it portrays videogames negatively. This is really common in a lot of books. However, the author handles this well, and even though one character loses interest in his video games mid-way, it’s because he discovers what he looks for in videogames: adventure. Plus, the father seems pretty intrigued by the gameboy in the end. The author is truly respectful of the kids’ judgment and personalities, and the siblings are well balanced too. Where the youngest is enthusiastic and observant, the eldest is determined and very funny. They are accompanied by a wonderful sailor character who introduces them to the legends of the coastline.

What is amazing about the Salt Water Taffy books is that even though these siblings see fantastical things, it never stops reminding you of what summer vacation feels like. It reminds you of all the magic here inside the world we live in—and especially inside our summer breaks.

About the Reviewer:
Kailyn Kent is student at Carleton College in Minnesota, production intern for Nickelodeon Magazine for Winter 2009 and the creator of the comic series "Poison People". You can view her work on her blog at kailynkent.blogspot.com.

For those who like adventure comics

I was asked to plug this new kids graphic novel called New Brighton Archaeological Society.

"Out of the ashes of misfortune will rise the next generation of great adventurers! After their parents are lost on an archeological expedition, four children begin to unlock the secrets of their parents' mysterious lives, discovering a hidden world of mystical artifacts, mythical creatures, and arcane knowledge. Soon they find themselves drawn into a conflict over a great library that has kept two kingdoms at war for centuries, the children must save an enchanted forest, the birthplace of magic itself."

I still haven't read it, but thought it looked pretty fun based on the art and premise. Reminds me of the V.F.D. aspects of "A Series of Unfortunate Events" crossed with The Brickston Scooter Club. If anyone out there reads it let us know what you think, right here in the reply section!

Can't get enough Avatar?

In the latest issue of the Nickelodeon Comics Club (with Fairly Odd Parents snowboarding on the cover) there is a new Avatar comic called "Don't Blow It" written by Alison Wilgus and illustrated by Elsa Garagarza.

And that's just the beginning. We plan to roll out a bunch more stories this year! And some of them are dare I say it...a bit more HARDCORE than what you may have seen in the past? I'll let you be the judge.

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Art above by Elsa Garagarza, Tom McWeeney, and Johane Matte

Not a creature was stirring except for a mouse

Instead of making cards or cookies this year, Nick Mag designer, Amanda Geisinger made a christmas themed videogame!


Help Theo the mouse collect gingerbread, cookie press, and chocolate chip cookie dough and drop each off at the appropriate bowl, which he conveniently placed at the corner of the screen.

-if you don't have a flash player, you can download it at: http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/
-if at any point it doesn't seem to respond to your keyboard, try clicking on it. Some browsers are mean and will deactivate flash components.

First ever comics awards for kids!

The ballot for the first ever Nickelodeon Magazine Comics Awards is in the December issue of Nick Magazine! And also online at:


As far as I know, this is the first major award dedicated specifically to promoting great comics for the kids of America! Sorta like the Caldecott of comics! And since it's Nickelodeon...we included lots of fun categories like "Best Hair in Comics", "Grossest Thing in Comics", "Cutest Thing in Comics" as well as best Graphic Novel, Manga, Comic Book, Comic Strip and more!

The awards logo was designed by cartoonist Sara Varon (Robot Dreams) and the website is actually fun in its own right! If you know any kids who have opinions about what they read, be sure to let them know about the awards! Ballots must be received no later than December 31st and the winners will be announced in the April issue of Nickelodeon Magazine, which is our annual cartoon themed issue!



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You may be interested to know that we will be running all new Avatar comics in the Nick Mag Comics Club. The first story appears in the December issue, which is on newsstands now.

What is the Nickelodeon Comics Club? Basically it's a subscription to what are referred to as the "special issues" of Nickelodeon Magazine. These include the All-Avatar magazines we did, and the ones that are all-Spongebob, "best of" collections. Nick Magazine has been doing these issues for years, but they never had an official name to tie them all together. Often they were referred to "Nick Mag Presents..." But now they are officially referred to as the Nickelodeon Comics Club.

Usually they have SpongeBob on the cover but there's ALWAYS some extra surprises as well. The December issue will feature a brand new Avatar comic and that will be just the FIRST of a bunch of new Avatar comics we plan to run in the Nick Mag Comics Club!

What can I say about these new Avatar comics? That they will be made with LOVE! Everyone involved was either a part of the show, or a HUGE NERD for the show like myself. :)
So we all consider it a huge responsibility to tell stories that are true to the spirit of the show we love! And I hope we hear from the fans to know what they think!

And we will archive many of the comic on our fancy new comics website:

comics and cookies

Join Raina Telgemeier, Matt Loux, and Dave Roman on Sunday, November 9, as they celebrate the release of three kid-friendly graphic novels: Baby-sitters Club #4: Claudia and Mean Janine; Salt Water Taffy #2: A Climb Up Mt. Barnabas; and The Adventures of Tymm #1: Alien Circus!

They'll be at Brooklyn's favorite comics store: ROCKETSHIP!

Parents and kids welcome! Cookies and Ice cream will be served!

***You can also cast your ballot in Nickelodeon Magazine's first-ever "Best Kids' Graphic Novel" Awards at the event! The awards will honor the best comic books and animated novels for kids published across the U.S.