Will draw readers in and inspire doodles galore.

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DOODLEVILLE

From the Doodleville series , Vol. 1

In a world where art literally comes alive, a girl must figure out how to create harmony between her doodles and her friends.

Ever since she was little, Drew has loved drawing—a particularly exciting hobby in a world where art comes alive! Whether on a field trip to the Chicago Art Institute or at her parents’ diner, Drew’s cheerful character doodles like to escape from her sketchbook and get up to harmless shenanigans. Drew does the best she can to contain them without imprisoning them; she’s hung a large drawing of “Doodleville” on her bedroom wall to give them an enriching home. But when she adds a new doodle to her crew—Levi, short for Leviathan—and he becomes a threat to the safety of Art Club’s other creations, Drew must figure out how to create balance and harmony. Sell’s worldbuilding is simple and may leave some readers with questions, but he tells an engaging story that uses a fantastical idea to ponder real-world dilemmas: How do you cope when things feel out of control? How do you reduce harm, and how do you make amends for harm that you’ve caused? Characters are shaped a bit like bitmojis, with slightly oversized heads and skinny necks. Drew has pale skin and dark hair, and her friends are a diverse bunch in terms of racial presentation, pronouns, and gender presentations. Several pages of backmatter discuss the history of Doodleville and its denizens.

Will draw readers in and inspire doodles galore. (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9470-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

GHOSTS

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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