THE MEETING

From the Mr. Badger and Mrs. Fox series , Vol. 1

Wooden dialogue weighs down this woodsy graphic tale of two single-parent families getting together. Routed out of their den by hunters, Mrs. Fox and her daughter, Ginger, wangle an invitation to stay the night with Mr. Badger and his kits, Grub, Bristle and the baby. The grown-ups click immediately; the young folk—particularly hostile, unsocialized only-child Ginger—start off, at least, at war. Arranged in squared-off graphic panels, several to a page, Tharlet’s uncluttered, fluidly brushed watercolor scenes are easy to follow as the young folk squabble about games and other issues but eventually come together over plans for a big moving-in party. Unfortunately the conversation as translated by Burrell too often runs to blocky lines—“We cannot return to our burrow. It is all destroyed”—and there is little suspense about the eventual outcome, giving this purposeful but promising series an uneven start. Still, it’s hard not to warm up to characters named Bristle and Grub; here’s hoping things smooth out in future entries. (Graphic animal fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7613-5631-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2010

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A welcome addition to shelves of graphic novels for new readers

PEACE AND QUIET

From the Mr. Badger and Mrs. Fox series , Vol. 4

A blended family of badgers and foxes make the best of close quarters in this wintertime story.

Mr. Badger and his three kits, Bristle, Berry and Grub, along with Mrs. Fox and her pup, Ginger, are hunkering down for a long winter together in this early-reader book that makes great use of comic conventions. Panel illustrations show the family gathering materials to make their shared den nice and cozy, while also discussing their differing wintertime behaviors: The badgers don’t hibernate, but they do sleep an awful lot to preserve their energy, and they rely on fat reserves to stay warm throughout the season, while the foxes grow thick winter coats and plan to hunt in the snowy forest. At first, the little ones have a hard time understanding these differences, and a dose of cabin fever makes the living situation rather fraught. Happily, the parents step in to ease tensions and to help their children make the most of the season and of their relationships with one another. Speech balloons, endearing illustrations of the characters, well-paced panels and lots of action from scene to scene will keep young readers invested in this story, particularly if they are already familiar with the previous titles in the series.

A welcome addition to shelves of graphic novels for new readers . (Graphic animal fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8225-9163-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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The tiny-type narrative text is hard to make out, but fans of Trondheim’s previous graphic tales will be used to his format.

MONSTER TURKEY

From the Monster series , Vol. 4

Thanks to a flow of toxic waste that turns farm animals into monsters, a family’s rural vacation takes several exciting, if wildly arbitrary turns.

In their fourth outing, Petey, Jean, their parents and their own household monster Kriss arrive as guests at a farm that seems deserted at first but soon coughs up a giant bunny, a T. Rex–sized turkey and other toothy, red-eyed horrors. Joined by the friendly local farmer, himself turned into a sasquatch with mismatched eyes, the family tracks a suspicious pipeline to a factory where the monsters turn out to be a (wait for it) tomato researcher’s experimental subjects. In Trondheim’s small, unbordered cartoon scenes, the lumpy monsters (except for Kriss, who resembles a multilimbed turquoise Barbapapa) look properly menacing. In the end, after much chasing about, they turn out to be not such bad sorts—and though some monsters die in gruesome ways, the overall effect is more comical than disturbing or scary.

The tiny-type narrative text is hard to make out, but fans of Trondheim’s previous graphic tales will be used to his format. (Graphic fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59707-349-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Papercutz

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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