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Into the Volcano

3.29  ·  Rating Details ·  483 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
Don Wood, bestselling Caldecott artist, rocks the graphic-novel world with his new paperback!

The volcano is erupting, and brothers Sumo and Duffy are trapped inside a deep lava tube--almost certain death. How did they get here? A vacation "hike" turned out to be a cut-throat search for their missing family fortune.
In a wildly dangerous twist of events, the boys try to esc
Paperback, 176 pages
Published June 1st 2012 by The Blue Sky Press (first published October 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

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Nov 01, 2008 Joe rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who don't need sensible narratives
Recommended to Joe by: School Library Journal
The starred review in School Library Journal captured my eye: here was a graphic novel that didn't look comic-booky and that would appeal to the male reluctant readers in my school.

That appeal may hold true, but there are so many problems with the story, its plot, and the illustrations, that it's hardly something I could recommend with enthusiasm.

First of all, the story is paper-thin and, in the spirit of most treasure-hunting tales, the plot mechanizations exist only to propel the characters c
Aug 05, 2008 Betsy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Look, I hate to burst your bubble but not every picture book illustrator born is necessarily cut out to write his or her own graphic novel. It’s an entirely different set of muscles, after all. Melding text and image well enough to sustain a story means having a firm grasp of what does and does not work as a comic. So I know you might have gotten all excited when you heard that Don Wood had written a graphic novel, but don’t be happy because a great Caldecott-winning illustrator has dipped his t ...more
Brothers Duffy and Sumo Pugg are a little confused when they’re sent to stay with Aunt Lulu and their cousin Come-and-Go (that's really his name) for 10 days while their parents are away on business, but that’s nothing compared to how confused they’ll be later on. Amid earthquakes and volcano eruptions, the boys are forced to evacuate with trusted family guides into the maze of tunnels under the volcano itself. It’s soon evident, though, that the guides are looking for something… and the boys ar ...more
Lars Guthrie
Sep 09, 2010 Lars Guthrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A powerful kids' graphic novel that adults will enjoy, too. Beyond the full color panels that often carry the impact and excitement of an action movie, Don Wood has concocted a complex and involving story with multiple themes.

Two brothers are pulled out of their dreary classroom in a dreary American suburban school on a dreary winter's day by their father. One boy, Duffy Pugg, is a small, wiry, and ready for adventure. His brother Sumo is larger, bulkier, cynical, and worried.

Both have darkish
Monica Edinger
Just rewrote this for my blog.

Wow. Don Wood’s Into the Volcano is one powerhouse of a graphic novel that you won’t want to miss. In fact, as far as missing goes, I almost missed my bus stop so engrossed was I in this totally wild adventure in and under and around an erupting volcano. The word gripping is completely apt for this (here comes another trite but accurate word) roller coaster of a read. Wood grabs you on the first page as brothers Duffy and Sumo are called out of their classroom to me
Nicola Mansfield
This started off pretty rough and I almost put it down but since the author is a Caldecott winner I decided to keep going. The dialogue is pretty bad, unrealistic and painful to read at the beginning. Sumo is such a whiny, moany, lazy crybaby that he is a painful character at first also. However, as the story gets over its initial hump the action starts and it is pretty much non-stop from that point on. The point of the story is that Sumo's character changes; he gains more confidence in himself ...more
Alyssa Peters
Alyssa Peters
Graphic Novel
This book is 22 chapters of wonderful graphics! It is about two brothers Duffy and Sumo Pugg. The two boys are pulled from their classroom and introduced to their cousin Mister Come-And-Go. The boys cousin came to invite the boys back to the island of Kocalaha to visit their Aunt Lulu while their mom finishes her research. The boys then find themselves on this island with their crazy Aunt, her Winnebago ,and a treehouse that may have stiging centipedes lurking in it. Th
Apr 24, 2013 Olivia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this book because I love adventure and mystery books. My favorite part of this book is when the kids find their mom and see the glowing green pearls because it got me more interested in what happens.
Aug 15, 2011 Leslie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone 8-12 who like graphic novels/high adventure/Goonies
As I began Don Wood’s Into the Volcano, Steven Spielberg/Amblin Entertainment came to mind. The Pugg brother’s adventure had that wonderfully familiar 1980s Goonies-ish flair.

Per Aunt Lulu’s request and their father’s consent, the boys are taken out of school and sent to visit their maternal Auntie on an Island with Cousin Come-and-go (the big bald guy in the above image) as their escort. The differences between the brothers (who are in the same classroom) begin when their father breaks the news
Rachel Denny
Title: Into The Volcano
Author: Don Wood
Genre: Graphic Novel
Theme(s): Family, Courage
Opening line/sentence: Pugg Brothers…please report to the principal’s office. Oh, and I think you’d better take your things with you.
Brief Book Summary: The Pugg brothers are sent to a volcanic island to help their aunt they have never even met. They are sent on an expedition that takes them into an erupting volcano where they must brave the forces of nature to get out and survive.
Professional Recommendation/Rev
Jan 02, 2009 Scope rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When used in the right way, a unique setting can take an adventure tale to the next level. The magnificently rendered volcano in this, Don Wood’s first graphic novel, does just that. It provides the perfect backdrop for a tale of mystery, suspense, and good old fashioned life-risking. At times thrilling, at times challenging, engrossing to the core, ”Into the Volcano” will go down as a standout book of aught eight.

The story begins abruptly. Brothers - the confident Duffy and the cautious Sumo -
Becky B
Duffy and Sumo are sent to stay with an aunt they didn't know they had on an island kingdom they didn't know existed. From the get-go, it is clear that something odd is going on. Duffy is making the best of the situation and enjoying the tropical weather. Sumo is excelling at being a wet blanket and grump. Before much time at all has passed, the two boys find themselves loaded into a boat with four adults headed straight at an erupting volcano and wondering if these adults are certifiably insane ...more
Morgan Ogden
May 20, 2012 Morgan Ogden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Into The Volcano is a graphic novel written and illustrated by Don Wood. The story takes place in modern day America where two young boys, the older called Duffy and the younger Sumo, are given the dhance to travel to go see some family in a faraway unnamed island. The boys agree to the trip, and are sent on a private plane to the middle of nowhere, where they meet their musclely cousin Come and Go and a crazy castaway named Magno Jo. On the island the boys are introduced to their aunt, who clai ...more
Dani Shuping
Brothers Duffy and Sumo live nice, normal, relatively quite lives. Till the day they are sent off on an adventure to Hawaii with their mysterious cousin, Come-and-go, and their aunt whom they've never met before. They soon find out things aren't as they appear to be as they are led on a perilous adventure into the heart of an erupting volcano. And questions are soon raised about where their mother really is and why they're being led into the volcano. Duffy and Sumo don't have much time to escape ...more
Maxzine Rossler
Into the Volcano is a graphic novel about two brothers, Sumno and Duffy who travel to a volcanic island to meet up with and help their aunt whom they have yet to meet. Once they get to this island they start to realize that their aunt is not who they thought she was. They are facing challenges that they could only dream of and are sent out on adventures. After facing a close call they are only hoping to make it out alive. The graphics in this book really paint that picture in the readers mind an ...more
Nov 26, 2012 Traci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Genre: Junior Graphic Novel


This book tells the story of Sumo and Duffy Pugg, who are removed from class by their father and told that they must go on an adventure to their absent mothers home island. They must go with their large cousin named Come-and-Go to visit their aunt. They are eventually asked to enter a volcano and the drama ensues. Sumo is scared but when faced with his brother Duffy being in danger, summons the courage to do things he thought were impossible.


(a) The
Eva Mitnick
Feb 11, 2009 Eva Mitnick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Into the Volcano by Don Wood is taller and wider than the usual graphic novel, allowing plenty of room for the eye-bugging subject matter – a boatful of obsessed people, including two young brothers, who head straight into and underneath an erupting volcano! That Don Wood lives in Hawaii and has intimate knowledge of volcanoes, erupting and otherwise, is clear. His artwork is visceral and detailed, allowing me to imagine in more detail than comfortable exactly what it would be like to be faced w ...more
Thurston Hunger
This one didn't captivate my kids or even myself. It felt like there was more going on, and perhaps I failed to catch the proper voice for the Pidgin passages. I actually enjoyed reading the reviews here, and could concede points on both sides of the star spectrum.

The tale is unique, but not *that* unique in terms of kids in peril, and on a quest of ill-defined nature. The absent mother, eventually located and then interestingly suspicious made for a fascinating character. An untrustworthy narra
Ellen Shackley
Genre: Graphic Novel

Summary: Two brothers are pulled out of school to visit their estranged Auntie, things soon take a turn for the worse when they are sent on a dangerous expedition with their dangerous-looking cousin.

A) Area of Focus: Illustration

B) The author/illustrator successfully uses the illustrations to further inform the reader. The format of the graphic novel doesn't allow for much text, so it is important for the illustrations to tell as much of the story as possible.

C) For example,
Jun 10, 2014 Amanda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Into the Volcano is a beautifully illustrated graphic novel by Don Wood. While the drawings are vibrantly done, the plotline of this book is very weak.[return][return]Sumo and Duffy are pulled out of school abruptly to go visit their Auntie on the island of Kocalaha; their mother is away on business in Borneo. I am not exactly sure what happens or why, but suddenly a volcano erupts and for some reason their Auntie takes them on a boat in the middle of it. The narration and dialogue is poor and c ...more
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
I liked the latter half of the novel much better than the exposition, but fortunately the leading chapters are few and short. It's interesting how Don Wood chose to use only dialog and thought bubbles, without any descriptive paragraph boxes that one sees frequently in the American Graphic Novel titles. This works well for the majority of the novel but the moments of Sumo's climbing down to rescue Duffy become awkward at times due to his constant "narrating" of the situation and the surrounding. ...more
Sarah Sammis
Into the Volcano by Don Wood is the last of the graphic novels that made it to the short list of the 2008-9 Cybils. It's an oversized graphic novel aimed at readers ages 9 to 12.

Sumo and Duffy Pugg are whisked away from school to spend ten days with an aunt on a south Pacific island called Kocalaha. What looks like a simple but unexpected vacation from school quickly turns unnerving and perilous. Auntie has plans for them to take part in an expedition inside the no longer dormant volcano.

The cha
Patrice Sartor
My 11 year old son rated it 3 stars.

The positives:

* I like the large size of this title. It works well with the actiony-adventurey theme.

* The last chapter is my favorite, and provides a good ending.

* My sons don't get along, so I am warmed by/jealous of stories depicting brothers that are there for each other, as this one does.

* Due to the size, the artwork, the setting and story line, the book has the feel of an adventure movie.

The negatives:

* I intensely dislike how most of the people are dra
Oct 09, 2013 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: libs-642
Description: Two brothers, Sumo and Duffy, face their personal fears while searching for treasure. When Duffy falls down a perilous cliff, Sumo must come to grips with his role in the incident — and whether or not he can rescue his brother.

Curriculum Connection: Earth Science. The student will investigate and understand geologic processes including plate tectonics. Key concepts include b) processes (faulting, folding, volcanism, metamorphism, weathering, erosion, deposition, and sedimentation)
Into the Volcano by Don Wood is a great example of the next generation of graphic novel for young people. Not intended for young children or adults, it's geared toward intermediate and middle school age students who are ready for the depth of a complex plot, but not yet ready for the mature themes of adult graphic novels. I'm not surprised by the wide range of reviews and ratings. Although the graphic novel contains some really strange characters and plot elements, the central story of Sumo's ma ...more
Eileen Corbett
Into the Volcano is a graphic novel about two young brothers, Duffy and Sumo, who find themselves in the middle of a mysterious adventure. They are checked out of school one day and flown to the island of Kocalaha. Kocalaha is the largest in a string of islands that have been formed by a volcano. Their Aunt Lulu is living on the island along with others who work with her. Duffy and Sumo are confused about who they can trust and what their actual mission is. The boys set out on their own through ...more
Even though this is a graphic novel with very little text on each page, I found myself mostly slogging through it due to a weak plot (why would these people bring the boys along?) that is just meant to make for an exciting adventure inside an erupting volcano. During the times when Sumo (one of the main characters, who also happens to be extremely annoying) is faced with tough decisions, the panels go on and on and on with their focus on him. At other times, when big events are taking place that ...more
Geoff Sebesta
Dec 09, 2010 Geoff Sebesta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was really, really good. It might even be a classic. I'm going to read it again in a few days to see.

Imagine a really good Tintin comic with Maurice Sendak characters drawn by Christopher Van Allsburg in a French comic format.

This comic will definitely reward rereading, because there's no possible way to get all the character interactions and long-lost relationships and asides about volcanology the first time. It's about two young brothers who are pulled out of school to go on some cra
Mar 15, 2016 Kirill marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
The Journey to the Volcano

I got this book when we were doing the secret book choice. It is a graphic novel written by Don Wood. The books genre is adventure, it is very interesting and anticipating.

Two brothers Sumo and Duffy are sent to their aunt. When they arrive they find their aunt living in a trailer. On the first day they were sent to a volcano which was about to explode. The way into the volcano was really hard, the lava was dripping from the rocks. What the boys didn't know that their
Austin Francis
Two brothers are called to the principal's office to talk to their dad, who compels them to take a trip to Hawaii to see their aunt. The boys are left in the dark as to why they get a sudden vacation, although the older of the two is reluctant, they agree to go. As they meet their cousins and aunt, things become more mysterious when they are compelled to go on a hiking trail against their will. Then even more so when they are forced to get on a boat to help them study an erupting volcano. With t ...more
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