An appealing whodunit about friendship and community, great for fans of comics.

POPPY & SAM AND THE LEAF THIEF

From the Poppy & Sam series

A tiny girl and her miniature panda companion solve a mystery and help their plant and insect friends.

Poppy is a small girl who lives inside a hollow pumpkin set in a pumpkin patch. Her panda friend, Sam, who acts like a child or younger sibling, helps her tend her garden. One day, they hear yelling nearby and run to find the cause. It’s Basil: Someone bit their leaves while they slept and they and the other plants are outraged. Poppy promises to help find the culprit. When interviews with Ms. Honeybee, Ladybug, and Mr. Bumblebee result in conflicting accusations, they make another plan to catch the thief. After two more failed attempts, Poppy finally figures out a clever way to find the nibbler. The thief apologizes and discovers that Basil is more than willing to share a leaf or two: “You only have to ask.” The simple, clean drawings are colored in natural tones, and the panels resemble comic art, varying in size to complement action and drama. Poppy may be curiously small, but she is resourceful and smart. With a dark beige skin tone and straight, black hair in a topknot, she is ethnically ambiguous; that she is a clever girl of color will appeal to many readers. The plant and animal friends are as adorable as Poppy and Sam, and there are clever surprises to discover on several pages.

An appealing whodunit about friendship and community, great for fans of comics. (Graphic mystery. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77147-329-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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This sweet volume is sure to bounce off the shelves.

BUNBUN & BONBON

FANCY FRIENDS

A perky rabbit and a fancy candy become best friends in this cheerful graphic novel.

Bunbun, an all-white rabbit, has almost everything: “a delightful Bunbun nose, a winning Bunbun smile, a ridiculously cute Bunbun tail,” and so on. But the one thing Bunbun does not have is a friend! Enter Bonbon. Initially mistaken for a talking rock, Bonbon is a bouncy, purple, and effervescently cheerful anthropomorphic piece of candy. The pair immediately becomes fast friends as they discover mutual passions for bouncing and for all things fancy: fancy vocabulary whether or not they know the meaning (“like croissant”), music, food (“fancy french fries and fancy ketchup!”). This all leads them to co-plan a fancy party! The story is virtually conflict-free; the most tension-filled moment is when the duo comes across a snake whom they assume to be a predator but who in fact is just looking for friendship too and ultimately joins their party. Both Bunbun and Bonbon remain ungendered throughout; neither is referred to with pronouns. Thick lines, clear borders, bright colors, and a bold, highly readable san serif type make this title ideal for newly independent readers or younger children looking for a first graphic novel to share with a grown-up. The multitalented Keating’s debut graphic novel is perfect for fans of Ben Clanton’s Narwhal and Jelly and Heather Ayris Burnell and Hazel Quintanilla’s Unicorn and Yeti.

This sweet volume is sure to bounce off the shelves. (Graphic early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-64683-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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Readers will be delighted to pick up this sweet treat.

CRABAPPLE TROUBLE

Anthropomorphized-produce people prepare for a fairy food festival in this transitional graphic novel.

Callaway, an overalls-clad girl with a crabapple head that floats above her body, is nervous about the Forest Fairy Kingdom’s upcoming Summertime Fair. All her friends are great at creating tasty treats from their produce, but Calla catastrophizes about her potential contribution to the fair, to the point of literally losing her head from worry—it abruptly disassociates from her and rolls away! It’s not painful, but it is disorienting, and Calla is lucky to get help from a new fairy friend named Thistle, who helps her practice managing her anxiety. In order to distract herself from her worries, Calla practices keeping busy by helping her community and, in doing so, finds self-worth in ways beyond traditional productivity. When the day of the festival arrives, Calla realizes that Clementine, another farmer she admires, is feeling just as insecure as she is, and in a particularly charming and satisfying moment, the two share their feelings and together enjoy the festival without stress. A secondary plot in which Thistle and his fairy community reconcile their different approaches to productivity ties in nicely with the book’s themes of emotional intelligence and community. The artwork is soft, friendly, and cheerful, with a candy-colored palette and aesthetic not far from the work of Rebecca Sugar’s, although with sketchier lines.

Readers will be delighted to pick up this sweet treat. (Graphic fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9680-3

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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