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From the Moomin Adventures series , Vol. 1

Whimsical nostalgia.

Seven Moomin family tales are brought together in this collection of the classic Finnish comic strip in this uncredited translation from the original Swedish.

The Moomins, subjects of a series of novels that first appeared in the 1940s, have since featured in picture books, comic strips, and animated TV series and films worldwide. This volume collects comic strips originally published in English in the London Evening News that were written and illustrated by both acclaimed original Moomin author and artist Tove Jansson and her brother Lars. With a grand spirit of adventure, Moomin, a charmingly hippolike creature, and his family look for ways to experience life outside Moomin-valley. The collection kicks off with “Moomin on the Riviera,” in which Moomin, Moominmamma, Moominpappa, and Moomin’s friend and sometimes love interest, Snork-maiden, sail south in search of a glamorous vacation. Shocked and dismayed by how much land is privately owned and inaccessible, they accidentally stumble into an exclusive hotel, where they’re assumed to be eccentric millionaires. More adventures follow, each concluding back in Moomin-valley, with the Moomins feeling a newfound appreciation for the simplicity of their daily lives. The tongue-in-cheek humor pokes fun at pretension, greed, and buffoonery. Some of the jokes about gender dynamics have not aged well, however. The clean, black-and-white line art and regular panels amusingly highlight the creatures’ antics; the lettering is occasionally compressed and, combined with some challenging vocabulary, may prove tricky for younger readers.

Whimsical nostalgia. (Comics. 8-adult)

Pub Date: July 9, 2024

ISBN: 9781770467422

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2024

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From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2019

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Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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