Chunky by Yehudi Mercado Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: From the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.
Publication Date: June 22, 2021
In this full-color middle grade graphic memoir for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Jerry Craft, Yehudi Mercado draws inspiration from his childhood struggle with his weight while finding friendship with his imaginary mascot, Chunky, as he navigates growing up in a working-class Mexican Jewish family.Hudi needs to lose weight, according to his doctors. Concerned about the serious medical issue Hudi had when he was younger, his parents push him to try out for sports. Hudi would rather do anything else, but then he meets Chunky, his imaginary friend and mascot. Together, they decide to give baseball a shot.Hudi has found the cheerleader he never had, as Chunky cheers him on even when Hudi barely makes the team. Baseball doesn’t go well (unless getting hit by the ball counts), but the two friends have a great time drawing and making jokes. While Hudi’s parents keep trying to find the right sport for him, Chunky encourages him to pursue his true love—comedy.But when Hudi’s dad loses his job, it gets harder for Hudi to chart his own course, even with Chunky’s guidance. Can Chunky help Hudi stay true to himself, or will this friendship strike out?
Chunky is a graphic memoir from Yehudi Mercado that follows his childhood and struggles in a humorous way through using comic relief and an imaginary friend/mascot.
Hudi is always told that he needs to lose weight but his love for food and lack of one lung prevents him from being the fully active child he might be, although he does try. The book follows his struggles and clumsiness through all sorts of sports in an attempt to appease his parents. Chunky appears as his mascot and humorous imaginary sidekick helping him along the way and being motivational when Hudi needs it.
The graphic is adorable, enjoyable and relatable. it shows kids that they can flow their dreams and that sometimes you try everything to appease people and it just doesn't work the way you had hoped. I think that while Hudi's parents were trying help him be better and lose weight, they were not very understanding of him as a child - they forced him into sports event though he was clumsy and cause him injury and knowing that he had breathing issues. I know this was a memoir, but that didn't feel right. There were probably other ways for Hudi to work on losing weight while pursuing what he enjoyed like theater and comedy.
Either way it looks like he made it out on the right side - writing a book about his childhood experiencing in a way that is relatable to the youth of today and trying to befriend those kids through comedy.