Books by Michael Townsend

MR. BALL by Michael Townsend
Released: Sept. 9, 2014

"Expect more from this Pac Man-esque hero and his band of friends. (Graphic fantasy. 5-8)"
Mr. Ball's egg-cellent adventure just may leave him cracked. Read full book review >
MR. BALL MAKES A TO-DO LIST by Michael Townsend
Released: Feb. 11, 2014

"A wild romp, with the volume turned up to 11. (Graphic early reader. 5-7)"
A manic Pac-Man lookalike loves making to-do lists, but he has a certain amount of trouble (read: major difficulties) following through. Read full book review >
CUTE & CUTER by Michael Townsend
Released: June 11, 2013

"Cute overload. (Picture book. 4-7)"
Janie Jane's birthday presents are cute—and in competition for her attention. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 13, 2012

"A selective but revealing collection of presidential thises and thats, which put an appealingly human face on the executive branch. (Graphic nonfiction. 8-12)"
Townsend brings his high spirits and hijinks to bear, in comic-book format, on the life and responsibilities of the United States president. Read full book review >
Released: March 8, 2011

One evening, Monkey decides to surprise his best friend, Elephant, with a tray of cupcakes. When he arrives at Elephant's house, he thinks he sees a costume party going on inside. Monkey runs away in tears. Why wasn't he invited? His sadness turns to anger, and he sneaks into Elephant's house to deep-freeze all of Elephant's toys. So Elephant gets Monkey back by giving the multitudinous Bunny family the key to Monkey's house, and Monkey gets Elephant back by painting a silly face on his rump when he's asleep…it only gets worse and louder and more violent! The other animals on the island can't stand it, so they devise an ingenious plan to get the two best friends back together. After recriminations ("You froze my toys!") come realizations ("I should have just asked you about it!"), hugs and apologies, and all goes nearly back to normal. Townsend's tale of a fight fueled by misunderstanding and then revenge is told in a hybrid of graphic panels and traditional full-page and spot illustrations. The heavy-line cartoon illustrations populated by simple, rubber-limbed characters relate the instructive tale with pitch-perfect notes of humor and silliness that never approach the didactic. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2010

From the tale of doomed lovers Pyramus and Thisbe to the Labors of Hercules, nine oft-retold myths get an off-the-wall graphic-novel treatment. Headed by titles like "Perseus vs. Two Nasty Kings and a Really Ugly Monster," or "Pygmalion and His Rocky Relationship!!!" the panels are crowded with similar-looking gods and mortals, sheep, small pastel bunnies, loud sound effects and tongue-in-cheek dialogue ("That's Cerberus, my doggy!")—all printed on coated paper and brightened by saturated colors. The tales are still more or less recognizable, though Townsend occasionally embroiders them with, for instance, an army of monkeys that Icarus recruits while Daedalus is working on a (supposedly) better escape plan, and adds some characters to the usual cast, like a little green sidekick named Deadkins for Hades. Along with being not too far from Emmanuel Guibert's Sardine in Outer Space series, illustrated by Joann Sfar, in general look and tone, these free-spirited retellings should draw fans of John Harris's Strong Stuff: Herakles and His Labors, illustrated by Gary Baseman (2005), and Charles R. Smith Jr.'s Mighty 12: Superheroes of Greek Myth, illustrated by P. Craig Russell (2008). (Graphic mythology. 10-13) Read full book review >
KIT FEENY by Michael Townsend
Released: Oct. 13, 2009

Kit Feeny and Arnold are best friends. They love graphic novels (they write their own) and stupid-awesome adventures (like selling all their clothes to get money for pizza because they spent all the money they HAD on superballs). Now Kit has to move. He smuggles Arnold onto the moving truck, but their parents aren't big fans of that solution. Kit sets off to find a Replacement Arnold with a spiffy quiz ("Raise your hand if you like ninja fishing!"), but he ends up on Devon the Bully Comedian's hit list. When being a Lonesome Hobo doesn't work out for him, he devises a plan that may just solve all his problems. Readers will hope that this, the first Kit Feeny adventure, is the first of many (Kit Feeny: The Ugly Necklace [ISBN: 978-0-375-85615-0; PLB: 978-0-375-95615-7] publishes simultaneously). Townsend's bright-eyed bear-hamster-pooch people and enthusiastically bizarre sense of humor will make this two-color graphic novel a hot item in any library. This is Babymouse for boys, and they will be begging for more. Lame-tastic! (Graphic fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >
Released: July 10, 2007

Billy's plans to liven up his class picture are derailed, but only temporarily in this engaging, comic-strip-style debut. Despite precise instructions to the barber to give him a spiky pink 'do like his TV hero Supermonkey, Billy ends up looking, as he puts it, "normal." What a bummer. Being a lad given to pushing the envelope, however, he doesn't give up, and even though subsequent efforts like trying to go to school wearing only a tie and underwear ("Mom, you only said I have to wear a tie.") don't get far, he triumphs in the end. Townsend tells the nearly all-dialogue tale in large, digitally colored panels featuring stylized but simply drawn figures with Little Orphan Annie eyes and, in the children at least, a definite predilection for tomfoolery. He's clearly still in touch with his inner mischief-maker, and so should have no trouble connecting to his young audience. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >