Originally released in 2016, 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank is a different take on the heist tale. The book is filled with humor, sensitivity, and action while the perpetrators are slightly younger than the median age for bank robbers. 4 Kids is a great piece of storytelling that will satisfy anyone who reads it.
Matthew Rosenberg’s writing is great and he gets the kids just right. The four main characters sound like a 1980s family movie cliche — Paige is the tough as nails leader who always has a quick comeback, Stretch plays the yin to her yang, Walter is the quiet nerd who you can barely hear, and Berger is the annoying loudmouth that no one really wants to be around.
The characters may sound familiar, but Rosenberg writes each one perfectly. These are not just characters in a book; these are kids you knew. Who doesn’t remember that one kid who always seem to show up right as you and your friends were planning to take off without them? (If you don’t remember that person, it is probably because you were that person.) Reading 4 Kids is almost like hearing a story about people you know. It’s an amazing bit of writing.
The kids are not the only ones who are well written. Rosenberg makes the most out of the time supporting characters get. Paige’s father is one of the deepest characters, while her uncle is funny in every scene he is in. Even Nazis and bullies are given personalities that stand out.
4 Kids is a heist book and is unsurprisingly action packed, but what really stands out is the humor. Running gags can be found throughout the story and never get old, and funny one liners will make the reader laugh out loud. The jokes are never out of place and really seem like something that would come out of a teenager’s mouth.
There are also jokes for movie fans and jokes that reward those that pay attention to tiny details. Obviously, there are a lot of callbacks to heist movies, but Star Wars fans will be in for a clever surprise. There are also hilarious sound effects and even some Looney Tunes-like humor. You will be hard pressed to find a funnier comic than 4 Kids.
The art of Tyler Boss elevates 4 Kids to the next level. The panel work is incredible as some pages will use a series of smaller panels to paint a bigger picture while other pages will hilariously and ingeniously use over twenty panels. The layout of the book constantly changes, giving a cinematic feel to the story. There is an unceasing sense of movement, which is perfect for an action filled story.
The excellent coloring is similar to a Wes Anderson movie and echoes what’s going on in the story. Attempted getaways are a bright yellow, giving a sense of riding off into the sunset, while scenes at home are a dull brown. Wallpaper patterns and clothing stand out and draw attention to the characters.
4 Kids Walk Into A Bank is filled with action and laughs and is surprisingly touching. The book is great at being fun without being heavy handed in delivering its more emotional moments. 4 Kids is a must read for anyone who enjoys a great story.