Sure to bewitch fans new and old.

READ REVIEW

KAREN'S WITCH

From the Baby-Sitters Little Sister series , Vol. 1

Could a witch really live next door?

In this graphic-novel adaptation of the series spinoff, 6-year-old Karen Brewer (stepsister to Baby-Sitters Club founder Kristy Thomas), has only three house rules when staying at her dad’s: don’t leave the TV on, keep closet doors shut, and (most importantly) no spying on the neighbors. Fanciful Karen cannot help but break the last one, convinced that her gray-haired, black cat–owning neighbor is only masquerading as being the kindly old Mrs. Porter and is actually a broom-riding witch named Morbidda Destiny. Soon, witches are all Karen can think about. After she convinces BFF Hannie Papadakis of Mrs. Porter’s witchery, the two concoct a spell to cast Morbidda out of the neighborhood and protect their families. Karen’s plan goes predictably awry, but her imagination, determination, and, ultimately, remorse should resonate with young readers. Adapted from the novels aimed at early-reader graduates, this charming graphic reworking should appeal to a similar audience with its adorably styled characters with rounded features and a palette of lively, bright colors. For those unfamiliar with either the 1980s novels or their new counterparts, this is a great jumping-in point for younger readers, and it's catnip for those wishing to soak up more time in Stoneybrook. Karen and her family present white; Hannie has olive skin and dark hair.

Sure to bewitch fans new and old. (Graphic fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35611-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE

A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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

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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