Age-appropriate, deadpan shark—er, snark at its best.


From the Shark and Bot series , Vol. 2

Will Shark and Bot survive being Glitter Bugs at summer camp?

Shark would rather have stayed home writing poetry. Bot actually wanted to go to Space Camp. But both find themselves at Camp Sweet Sunshine, where camp director Tilton Findleswip hosts a mixture of racially diverse human and species-diverse animal kids who, except for Shark and Bot, are 11s on the 1-to-10 happiness scale. Shark and Bot survive a glitter encounter and escape signing up for the Sweety-Fluff Happy Choir, but what about the Ghost of Sweet Sunshine, who haunts the boys’ bathroom? They settle in as the absurdity ratchets up. Bot lives through mandatory swimming (their counselor puts him in a giant hamster ball). Shark succeeds at craft time (with Bot’s help). They get care packages from home that include the newest Glo-Nuts book. They even come up with a killer (nothing deadly) act for the talent show. Summer camp turns out to be more fun than they expected…despite all the rainbow sparkles and uber-happy song breaks. Yanish’s second graphic novel for new-to–chapter-books readers is even more fun than the series opener. The unlikely duo of Shark and Bot (with Batty the wombat in tow) inhabits large, colorful panels full of fourth-wall–breaking humor and wombat facts. Facts about wombats and instructions on how to draw Batty appear at the close.

Age-appropriate, deadpan shark—er, snark at its best. (Graphic fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-17338-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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What a wag.

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


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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