A lightweight, spooky adventure with an unusually exotic cast.

THE FILTH LICKER

From the Takeshita Demons series , Vol. 2

A trio of whirling weasel assassin spirits with Freddy Krueger–style claws ambush a Japanese-British child on an abandoned farm. Whoo-hoo!

Having dealt with a monster with a detachable head in the opening episode (Takeshita Demons, 2010), Miku is alert to the presence of other Japanese spirits who have followed her transplanted family overseas. These turn out to be dismayingly common, as a school camping trip becomes a nonstop series of encounters with supernatural creatures. These range from the comical one of the title—an “aka-na-me,” who delights in cleaning bathrooms and like places with its tongue (“Disgusting, but useful,” Miku notes)—to a malign shape-shifting fox who first orchestrates a campfire storytelling rite (Hyaku Monogatari) to create a nest of Sickle Weasels (kama itachi) then leads Miku into their midst. Salting her tale not only with Japanese folklore, but sickening odors, an abrupt power failure, classmates behaving oddly and other suspense-building elements, Burne sets up an exciting if clumsily choreographed extended battle. In it, Miku, with unexpected help from eldritch allies, vanquishes her attackers while ending up covered in soot and slime (she avoids being licked clean, but a classmate is not so lucky).

A lightweight, spooky adventure with an unusually exotic cast. (Light horror. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-84780-136-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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A-mew-sing fare for readers who sometimes feel like fraidycats themselves.

SCAREDY CAT

Two shelter cats take on a mysterious puss with weird powers who is terrorizing the feline community.

Hardly have timorous (and aptly named) Poop and her sophisticated buddy, Pasha, been brought home by their new “human beans” for a two-week trial than they are accosted by fiery-eyed Scaredy Cat, utterly trashing the kitchen with a click of his claws and, hissing that he’s in charge of the neighborhood, threatening that if they don’t act like proper cats—disdaining ordinary cat food and any summons (they are not dogs, after all), clawing the furniture instead of the scratching post, and showing like “cattitude”—it’ll be back to the shelter for them. Will Poop and Pasha prove to be fraidycats or flee to the cowed clowder of homeless cats hiding from the bully in the nearby woods? Nope, they are made of sterner stuff and resolutely set out to enlist feline allies in a “quest for life, liberty, and the pursuit of purrs!” Cast into a gazillion very short chapters related by furry narrators Poop and Pasha, who are helpfully depicted in portrait vignettes by Herzog at each chapter’s head, the ensuing adventures test the defiant kitties’ courage (and, in some cases, attention spans) on the way to a spooky but poignant climax set, appropriately enough as it happens, in a pet graveyard.

A-mew-sing fare for readers who sometimes feel like fraidycats themselves. (Adventure. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49443-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Epic—in plot, not length—and as wise and wonderful as Gerald Morris’ Arthurian exploits.

KNIGHTS VS. DINOSAURS

Who needs dragons when there are Terrible Lizards to be fought?

Having recklessly boasted to King Arthur and the court that he’d slain 40 dragons, Sir Erec can hardly refuse when Merlin offers him more challenging foes…and so it is that in no time (so to speak), Erec, with bookish Sir Hector, the silent and enigmatic Black Knight, and blustering Sir Bors with his thin but doughty squire, Mel, in tow, are hewing away at fearsome creatures sporting natural armor and weapons every bit as effective as knightly ones. Happily, while all the glorious mashing and bashing leads to awesome feats aplenty—who would suspect that a ravening T. Rex could be decked by a well-placed punch to the jaw?—when the dust settles neither bloodshed nor permanent injury has been dealt to either side. Better yet, not even the stunning revelation that two of the Three Stooges–style bumblers aren’t what they seem (“Anyone else here a girl?”) keeps the questers from developing into a well-knit team capable of repeatedly saving one another’s bacon. Phelan endows the all-white human cast with finely drawn, eloquently expressive faces but otherwise works in a loose, movement-filled style, pitting his clanking crew against an almost nonstop onslaught of toothy monsters in a monochrome mix of single scenes and occasional wordless sequential panels.

Epic—in plot, not length—and as wise and wonderful as Gerald Morris’ Arthurian exploits. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-268623-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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