A good choice for readers new to the format and those looking for a quick hit of Halloween silliness.

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THAT ONE SPOOKY NIGHT

The title refers to Halloween, when the trio of stories within supposedly occurred. This graphic-novel look at seemingly disparate happenings is likely to have readers giggling more than shivering.

Bar-el builds light suspense as he warns readers about the slightly scary spoofs on classic horror stories found in the pages that follow. The first tale, “Broom with a View,” shows a bratty girl’s comeuppance after she bumps into a real witch and is taken on a wild ride with the good-hearted green gal, learning in the process that kindness can be cool. The second story, “10,000 Tentacles Under the Tub,” depicts the over-the-top antics of two boys in costume as Aqua-Ranger and Aqua-Ninja who, after an evening of rambunctious and disrespectful behavior, find themselves in a battle for their lives when cunning mermaids beckon them into the horrific depths beneath their very own bathtub. The final yarn features a quartet of full-of-themselves girls who enjoy terrorizing fellow trick-or-treaters. Then they meet another foursome of equally frightening girls, who turn out to be vampires eager to drink their blood. Huyck illustrates the rapidly paced action in classic comic-book style, making sure to skillfully depict every shock, scare and look of relief.

A good choice for readers new to the format and those looking for a quick hit of Halloween silliness. (Graphic novel. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-55453-751-8

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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What a wag.

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DOG MAN

What do you get from sewing the head of a smart dog onto the body of a tough police officer? A new superhero from the incorrigible creator of Captain Underpants.

Finding a stack of old Dog Man comics that got them in trouble back in first grade, George and Harold decide to craft a set of new(ish) adventures with (more or less) improved art and spelling. These begin with an origin tale (“A Hero Is Unleashed”), go on to a fiendish attempt to replace the chief of police with a “Robo Chief” and then a temporarily successful scheme to make everyone stupid by erasing all the words from every book (“Book ’Em, Dog Man”), and finish off with a sort of attempted alien invasion evocatively titled “Weenie Wars: The Franks Awaken.” In each, Dog Man squares off against baddies (including superinventor/archnemesis Petey the cat) and saves the day with a clever notion. With occasional pauses for Flip-O-Rama featurettes, the tales are all framed in brightly colored sequential panels with hand-lettered dialogue (“How do you feel, old friend?” “Ruff!”) and narrative. The figures are studiously diverse, with police officers of both genders on view and George, the chief, and several other members of the supporting cast colored in various shades of brown. Pilkey closes as customary with drawing exercises, plus a promise that the canine crusader will be further unleashed in a sequel.

What a wag. (Graphic fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-58160-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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This high-wattage debut is a little rough around the edges, but there’s nary a dull moment.

CAT DAD, KING OF THE GOBLINS

A pair of sisters and a froggy sidekick go up against a horde of fungal jungle dwellers in this frantically paced Canadian import.

When Mom transforms Dad into a cat, 10-year-old Luey, her leggy green friend, Phil, and little sister Miri chase him through a closet door and down a jungle path into a maze of tunnels. They manage to rescue their errant parent from the maroon-colored, cat-worshiping goblins that had overrun the garden. (They are not the “mythological” sort, explains Wilson, but sentient mushrooms dressed in towels.) The three put most of their pursuers to flight by rubbing Dad’s fur the wrong way to turn him into a raving, furry maniac (the rest flee at the closet door, screaming “IT’S THE MOM CREATURE! RETREAT!!”). Captured in multiple, sometimes overly small panels of garishly colored cartoon art, the action—not to mention the internal logic—is sometimes hard to follow. Still, dragging along their timorous but canny buddy, the dark-skinned, big-haired sisters dash into danger with commendable vim, and readers will cheer when they come out triumphant on the other side.

This high-wattage debut is a little rough around the edges, but there’s nary a dull moment. (afterword) (Graphic fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-927668-11-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Koyama Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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