by JZ Bingham
Channel Blue
Riders of the Storm

Hardcover - SRP $16.95

Stories In Verse | Intermediate Readers

Tongue-Twisting Metered Rhyme

Channel Blue is book #4 in the Salty Splashes Collection by JZ Bingham, but a new artistic and rhyme style make a break from the preceding trilogy works.

While some of the cartoon characters are familiar, there are many additions to the cast. The precocious humor continues but the hi-jinx gets even more dubious—albeit ending with a moral lesson learned by all, as is Bingham’s style in the series.

Channel Blue is a contemporary take on a classic children’s tale of competition and friendship, set against a dreamy California backdrop of beach and surf. The fast-paced, metered rhyme makes for tongue-twisting fun, and the sophisticated cartoon illustrations are eye-popping.

Recommended for intermediate readers, boys and girls ages 7+.

Also available wherever books are sold, and in select libraries and schools.

5-Stars: Foreword Reviews

Reviewed by Amanda McCorquodale 

August 29, 2014

Pulled in by standout illustrations, kids are introduced to life lessons such as perseverance, sportsmanship, and overcoming adversity.

For once, judging a book by its cover will serve teachers, students, and parents well.

Illustrated by Jason Buhagiar, JZ Bingham’s Channel Blue is as riveting in its text as it is in its animation-style visuals. The fourth in the award-winning Salty Splashes Collection, Bingham uses clever rhyming couplets to create a picture book about an alluring cast of surf-loving animals and the sea creatures under the waves.

The adventure story is superbly packaged in hardcover with a sleek front-cover design and truly beautiful illustrations, with layouts reminiscent of Disney storyboards.

On the morning of Heat Wave, a surf contest, cartoon animals Stump and Crump attempt to thwart the feline Beardsley so that their boss, Diggy, has a better shot at winning the Golden Fin trophy. The duo enlists the aid of dolphins and sharks as furry beach babes Oola and Kat look on to see which surfer will come out on top. Through Bingham’s metered verse, Beardsley overcomes a broken surfboard, rocks outside his cave, and sinister sharks to not only win the contest but also to exercise supreme sportsmanship in befriending his rival in the end.

“In spite of all his scheming and in spite of all his tricks,” Bingham writes, “the mighty Diggy hit a wall with quite a lot of bricks. ‘We made it, man. Here, take my hand.’ The bobcat took a stand. This humbled Diggy mightily. He grinned and took his hand.”

Pulled in by Buhagiar’s standout illustrations, kids are introduced to life lessons such as perseverance, sportsmanship, and overcoming adversity. Rhymes make the narrative fun to read aloud and will also benefit new readers as they work through Bingham’s mix of easy and slightly advanced vocabulary.

Bingham also packs in the action: the furry cartoon cast has a beachside dance party, snorkels through reefs, rides sting rays, conspires with sharks by moonlight, and surfs the white-crested swells. Meanwhile, Buhagiar adds intensity through highly expressive characters drawn to capture the drama and excitement of the Heat Wave competition.

Channel Blue will undoubtedly stand out on any bookshelf, and once cracked open, it will likely become a favorite at group story times or in the hands of a young beginner reader.

Pub Date: April 30, 2014
Primary ISBN (Hardcover): 978-1-939454-07-2 $16.95
Trim Size: 8.5″ X 11″ Oblong, 40 pages
BISAC: Juvenile Fiction, Picture Book, Stories in Verse, Action & Adventure
Trade Orders: Ingram Publisher Services, Overdrive, Brodart, Baker & Taylor (thru IPS).
Retail Orders: Wherever Books Are Sold, Available Globally