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From the Mr. Penguin series , Vol. 4

Delightful slapstick sleuthery.

It’s foolishness on the Pyramid Express and a tour of the Tomb of Doom.

Bumbling adventurer Mr. Penguin (an actual penguin) and his band of assistants, Colin (a kung-fu spider who communicates via writing on his notepad), Edith Hedge (human BFF), and Gordon (Edith’s omnivorous pigeon) return for a fourth spine-tingling, rib-tickling mystery adventure. Ostensibly arriving in the Egyptian desert town of Laghaz for a rest, Edith sets off with Gordon for a tour—but doesn’t return. When Cynthia, her unexpected (to Mr. Penguin and Colin, at least) twin sister, shows up, the group discovers Edith has been kidnapped from the local library. Gordon has a clue to her whereabouts…but, of course, he has attempted to eat it. They hop on a train full of possible suspects headed for Wadi al Khatar, the Valley of Peril. The excitable Mr. Penguin has several freakouts about mummies and bandits until one of his fears actually pans out, and he and Colin find themselves tossed from the train. Thankfully, a young fan of Mr. Penguin’s previous…um detective successes, a boy named Farooq, along with Iris, his eye-patch–wearing cat, have been following the group. They rescue the adventurers and get them to the valley, which, it turns out, is aptly named. Fans of the series will enjoy this twisty mystery with enough laughs and lively illustrations (containing subtle clues) to keep pages turning to the silly close.

Delightful slapstick sleuthery. (Adventure. 6-11)

Pub Date: June 14, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-68263-459-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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From the First Cat in Space series , Vol. 1

Epic lunacy.

Will extragalactic rats eat the moon?

Can a cybernetic toenail clipper find a worthy purpose in the vast universe? Will the first feline astronaut ever get a slice of pizza? Read on. Reworked from the Live Cartoon series of homespun video shorts released on Instagram in 2020 but retaining that “we’re making this up as we go” quality, the episodic tale begins with the electrifying discovery that our moon is being nibbled away. Off blast one strong, silent, furry hero—“Meow”—and a stowaway robot to our nearest celestial neighbor to hook up with the imperious Queen of the Moon and head toward the dark side, past challenges from pirates on the Sea of Tranquility and a sphinx with a riddle (“It weighs a ton, but floats on air. / It’s bald but has a lot of hair.” The answer? “Meow”). They endure multiple close but frustratingly glancing encounters with pizza and finally deliver the malign, multiheaded Rat King and its toothy armies to a suitable fate. Cue the massive pizza party! Aside from one pirate captain and a general back on Earth, the human and humanoid cast in Harris’ loosely drawn cartoon panels, from the appropriately moon-faced queen on, is light skinned. Merch, music, and the original episodes are available on an associated website.

Epic lunacy. (Graphic science fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-308408-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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