A stiff, flat, lifeless knockoff.

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PRICKLES VS. THE DUST BUNNIES

A neatnik cat repeatedly and fruitlessly orders dust bunnies to leave in this conspicuously uninspired domestic drama.

Endowing all of the figures in his cartoon scenes with the same inexpressive, heavy-lidded eyes and placing them in static tableaux, Cleary (Stop Bugging Me!, 2010) sets up a monotonous argument between Prickles the cat and an increasing army of mouselike smudges that are reluctant to leave the safety of the couch’s underside to venture outdoors. Ultimately they win out, with some bunnies clumping themselves into a sweater for the resident mouse and others gathering in legions to be knitted into a like garment for the homeowner, a rat (?) named Mr. Cheese. Designed and arranged in large graphic panels à la Candlewick’s Toon Books (and part of a series dubbed Balloon Toons in further direct, if unacknowledged homage), this may spark some initial interest in budding comics fans for its format, but the bored-looking characters and the general air of ennui don’t exactly add up to a memorable reading experience—particularly in comparison to the far livelier bits of fluff in Jan Thomas’ Rhyming Dust Bunnies (2009).

A stiff, flat, lifeless knockoff. (Graphic picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-60905-080-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Apple

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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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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