Knowing Oni Press’ diverse line of publishing I knew that this was a book meant for kids right away. I think they’re one of the few publishers that honestly touch upon all aspects of genres in that regard. So I didn’t expect much from Do-Gooders in terms of satisfying me personally as a reader. I knew it wasn’t for me, but being a new father I wanted to see if this was something I could one day show my newborn. The story follows a brother and sister as they go through the do’s and don’ts of being a Do-Gooder. Each two-page spread shows both siblings doing wrong and then doing right. Then towards the end of the book the story focuses on just giving good messages because not every polite action has a rude counterpart.
The writing is straight forward and the messages are definitely ones that you’d want your kids to learn, but… I don’t think it’s perfect. My main gripe is that our main characters always go for the negative action first. The results make it seem as if their first action is to be “bad” and then they realize that they’re not being a Do-Gooder and they correct the action. Towards the end they seem to get it, but the art adds a lot of emphasis on the negative actions. Not that the art is bad, but it’s easier to illustrate shouting then it is calm and collected.
Speaking more on the art it’s a great fit for the story. The kids are very cartoonish a solid blend between comics and kids’ books. The coloring is bright and detailed and overall one of the strongest aspects of the book. You just know that it’s a kids book from the look of it and that’s okay.
While I don’t think this story is perfect, I do think it’s one that parents can try out. After all your kid’s response will be governed by how you raise them. From my point of view this is a book you’ll always want to read to your kid rather than letting them go it alone and possibly get confused on the message. Which you should probably do anyway.