From the Comics Worth Reading website:
Geeky Fab 5 has an explicit purpose — to show girls taking part in STEM activities. I support that, and this book achieves its goal, although it’s more about determination and teamwork than actual math or science. We hear about girls coding, for example, but don’t see much of the actual practice.
Lucy and her sister Marina have just moved to the town of Normal. Lucy’s new school friends are Zara, Sofia, and A.J. Between them, they have a variety pack of interests that hit every base: math, art, singing, coding, engineering, animals, space, and karate. There’s also Hubble, Lucy’s cat who sneaks to school and has his own sarcastic thought-bubble monologue.
When Lucy gets hurt on the playground, the school decides to tear it down, because there’s no money to fix it. The friends decide to raise money and design a new playground, each contributing their own talents. This short graphic novel is co-written by Lucy and Liz Lareau (12-year-old daughter and mother, respectively) and illustrated by Ryan Jampole.
The cartooning is easy to read, with focus on the characters talking, and the story is straightforward, with events, motivations, and lessons spelled out explicitly in the dialogue. That’s particularly true when the teacher keeps encouraging the kids not to let setbacks get them down. The characters’ energy is clearly conveyed, keeping young readers interested in their activities.
I hadn’t realized until it was said at the end that this was meant to take place over a year, since there isn’t much indication of time passing, but it’s realistic that it would take a while to achieve their goal. This book gets its job done competently, and parents, teachers, and librarians should welcome it as a comfortable read with a good message. I wish we saw the girls actually engaging in more science or math activities, though, beyond keeping a total of money raised. (That’s not math so much as counting.)