‘The Postman From Space: The Biker Bandits’
(Holiday House, ages 10 and older, 160 pages, $22.99 hardcover, $12.99 paper)
In Bob’s second interstellar escapade, the intrepid deliveryman from space has risen in postal spheres to employee of the month, giving him newfound courage — he “has definitely gained a lot of confidence since we last met him” — and a renewed sense of purpose. So, it comes as a surprise to Bob when he’s given just a single piece of mail to deliver, and a partner to boot, in Guillaume Perreault’s sophomore “The Postman From Space” release.
Like that first engaging graphic novel, “The Postman From Space: The Biker Bandits” is translated from its original French (by translator Francoise Bui) and is just as filled with quirky characters, a well-paced storyline and a series of sidereal and understated illustrations that drive the narrative.
Also as in his first adventure, Bob becomes the reluctant hero whose seemingly straightforward mission goes sideways when happenstances (in the guise, here, of a gentle admonishment from your postal authorities to submit a timely change of address) send him to the other side of the galaxy.
It’s not enough that he and assistant Marcelle encounter a musical hitchhiker with a poor sense of pitch, they get redirected to a number of whimsical and unusual planets while being pursued by the Biker Bandits, a gang of outlaws set on stealing the mail.
Perreault’s paneling is spot-on as we move through the adventure, and some seemingly dialogue miscues are actually optimized discussion departures about bullying and being judgmental: Bob’s weight is targeted by others, for example, and he faults Marcelle’s appetite for getting them into difficult situations.
By the end of the journey, the overall takeaways are lessons in tolerance, understanding, trust and overcoming challenges — positive messages that propel Bob’s adventure to a shared storytelling time to be cherished.