While it may not be that easy being green, this book mixes the sweet and the serious in a ribbitting read.

LIFE ACCORDING TO OG THE FROG

From the According to Og the Frog series , Vol. 1

Move over, rodent. There’s a new class pet in town.

In this companion novel to Birney’s Friendship According to Humphrey (2005) and its many sequels, readers see the beloved hamster from an amphibian’s perspective. Until he was captured from his pond, Og the frog was a pretty average fellow. Now he’s a class pet in Mrs. Brisbane’s room, second only to Humphrey himself, with all his basic needs taken care of. But “it’s a lot smaller than the swamp,” and this new life takes some adjustment. Following Humphrey’s lead, he finds ways to give the kids in the room some gentle help and guidance. Yet just when Og’s settling in, there’s talk of returning him to the wild once more. Would it be kindness or cruelty to send Og back into nature? And does he even know which one he’d prefer? Though writing with her customarily light touch, Birney gives serious thought to the plight of pets caught in the wild, giving voice to every side and debating the most humane response. Og’s miscommunications with Humphrey provide ample comic relief, as do the frog’s songs, which he launches into with gusto.

While it may not be that easy being green, this book mixes the sweet and the serious in a ribbitting read. (Fiction 7-11)

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-3994-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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THE FIRST CAT IN SPACE ATE PIZZA

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. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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

THE BAD GUYS

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

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. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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