It has color, magic, and ponies—but little else.

READ REVIEW

THE TEST OF MAGIC

From the Melowy Graphic Novels series , Vol. 1

A graphic-novel series to accompany the Melowy chapter books.

A concise pagelong summary opens the story, explaining the distant world Aura, which consists of four island realms and the Castle of Destiny in the clouds, which houses the school for Melowies, winged unicorns with magical powers. Five first-year friends and roommates—Cleo, Maya, Electra, Cora, and Selena—are preparing for a big exam in defense techniques. Each Melowy has a distinctive quirk: Cleo’s a bookworm, Maya bakes, Electra likes fashion, Cora’s brainy, and Selena’s aloof. Cleo also has a mysterious backstory and an equally mysterious locket. The five, along with side characters, all share similar silhouettes (slender, leggy, long-haired, short-snouted, and with the same shape and size wings and horns for all); aside from variations in hair styles and skirt lengths, readers must rely primarily on color schemes to keep track of the large, otherwise bland cast. When the test ends up separating the Melowies, luring them in with desires and then trapping them with fears, Cleo’s locket and the strength of her friendships carry the day, allowing her to pass while aiding her friends in the test. The ending confirms the obvious—that Cleo’s special—and reveals a villain scheming in the wings for subsequent episodes.

It has color, magic, and ponies—but little else. (Graphic fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-54580-002-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Papercutz

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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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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