A worthy addition to the series, albeit a bit more somber than its forerunners.

DAWN AND THE IMPOSSIBLE THREE

From the BSC Graphix series , Vol. 5

In the fifth installment of the graphic adaptation of the beloved series, one of the members of the Baby-Sitters Club copes with a family that’s struggling through an acrimonious divorce.

Dawn Schafer, white and a recent transplant from California, is the newest member of the club. Her mother is dating fellow member Mary Anne’s father, and Kristy, their club president, is jealous of Mary Anne and Dawn’s new bond. When Dawn begins to sit for a new family—the Barretts—she is immediately struck by their household’s general disorder and rambunctious kids. She learns that the Barretts are in the midst of a tempestuous separation, and their growing rancor soon has serious implications for the entire family and Dawn. After a harrowing event, Dawn must confront Mrs. Barrett and voice her concerns despite her apprehension at broaching such a difficult topic with an adult. Slightly more serious than its predecessors, this offering tackles the weighty issues of divorce and kidnapping but manages to resolve things tidily in the comfortably episodic manner that fans of the series expect. This volume introduces new artist Galligan, who replaces veteran Raina Telgemeier. Although Galligan’s style is subtly different than Telgemeier’s, fans should not be alienated by the smooth transition. In her full-color panels, the principal characters appear to be white, save Asian club member Claudia.

A worthy addition to the series, albeit a bit more somber than its forerunners. (Graphic adaptation. 7-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-06730-9

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low.

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DOG MAN AND CAT KID

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 4

Recasting Dog Man and his feline ward, Li’l Petey, as costumed superheroes, Pilkey looks East of Eden in this follow-up to Tale of Two Kitties (2017).

The Steinbeck novel’s Cain/Abel motif gets some play here, as Petey, “world’s evilest cat” and cloned Li’l Petey’s original, tries assiduously to tempt his angelic counterpart over to the dark side only to be met, ultimately at least, by Li’l Petey’s “Thou mayest.” (There are also occasional direct quotes from the novel.) But inner struggles between good and evil assume distinctly subordinate roles to riotous outer ones, as Petey repurposes robots built for a movie about the exploits of Dog Man—“the thinking man’s Rin Tin Tin”—while leading a general rush to the studio’s costume department for appropriate good guy/bad guy outfits in preparation for the climactic battle. During said battle and along the way Pilkey tucks in multiple Flip-O-Rama inserts as well as general gags. He lists no fewer than nine ways to ask “who cut the cheese?” and includes both punny chapter titles (“The Bark Knight Rises”) and nods to Hamilton and Mary Poppins. The cartoon art, neatly and brightly colored by Garibaldi, is both as easy to read as the snappy dialogue and properly endowed with outsized sound effects, figures displaying a range of skin colors, and glimpses of underwear (even on robots).

More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low. (drawing instructions) (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-93518-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

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DOG MAN

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 1

What do you get from sewing the head of a smart dog onto the body of a tough police officer? A new superhero from the incorrigible creator of Captain Underpants.

Finding a stack of old Dog Man comics that got them in trouble back in first grade, George and Harold decide to craft a set of new(ish) adventures with (more or less) improved art and spelling. These begin with an origin tale (“A Hero Is Unleashed”), go on to a fiendish attempt to replace the chief of police with a “Robo Chief” and then a temporarily successful scheme to make everyone stupid by erasing all the words from every book (“Book ’Em, Dog Man”), and finish off with a sort of attempted alien invasion evocatively titled “Weenie Wars: The Franks Awaken.” In each, Dog Man squares off against baddies (including superinventor/archnemesis Petey the cat) and saves the day with a clever notion. With occasional pauses for Flip-O-Rama featurettes, the tales are all framed in brightly colored sequential panels with hand-lettered dialogue (“How do you feel, old friend?” “Ruff!”) and narrative. The figures are studiously diverse, with police officers of both genders on view and George, the chief, and several other members of the supporting cast colored in various shades of brown. Pilkey closes as customary with drawing exercises, plus a promise that the canine crusader will be further unleashed in a sequel.

What a wag. (Graphic fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-58160-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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