An emotionally and spiritually warming visit to the Arctic.

PUTUGUQ & KUBLU

A contemporary story of sibling rivalry set north of the Arctic Circle in a First Nations community.

The eponymous characters are a First Nations brother and sister pair who live in a small Inuit community on Arviq Bay, rendered in a detailed map on frontmatter pages. After the children get into a minor squabble fueled by some airborne snowballs, their grandfather encounters them on the tundra and talks with them about inuksuit, rock formations with practical and spiritual importance to their ancestors and to the Tuniit people, who predated the Inuit. Putuguq and Kublu listen to his words, adding in their own comments and questions, and then Putuguq ends up making his own inuksuk to hide behind in order to take playful revenge on his sister. This turn of events contradicts the message embedded in their grandfather’s earlier praise for Putuguq when the little boy resisted chasing after Kublu for laughing at him because his pants split to reveal heart-dappled underpants. At the same time, it also humanizes the contemporary First Nations characters, making them accessible to readers. Further enhancing this sense of accessibility is the layout of the book, which adopts comic-book conventions such as panels and speech balloons to deliver the story and employs a brightly colored cartoon style that seems influenced by a Japanese manga style. Endnotes provide more information about inuksuit and the Tuniit people.

An emotionally and spiritually warming visit to the Arctic. (Early reader. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77227-143-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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What a wag.

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DOG MAN

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 1

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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In a nutshell: short and sweet.

SCAREDY SQUIRREL IN A NUTSHELL

From the Scaredy's Nutty Adventures series , Vol. 1

Always be prepared...to be underprepared.

Scaredy Squirrel is perfectly happy to stay in his nut tree, away from the myriad dangers plaguing the outside world, like aliens, germs, cacti, and evil dust bunnies. Or, as the case may turn out to be, not-so-evil dust-free bunnies, who do pesky and panic-inducing things like clog Scaredy’s trusty vacuum and try to make friends. In a nutshell: a risky situation! Scaredy, of course, has constructed contingency plans for his contingency plans in hopes of avoiding such situations (when in doubt, play dead). But the best-laid plans of squirrels and men oft go awry, leading Scaredy to discover that sometimes, a risk can yield a mighty (and tasty) reward. With this outing, Watt gives her award-winning Scaredy Squirrel picture-book series, published over a decade ago, a graphic-novel upgrade for a contemporary audience. Fortunately, no familiarity with the series is required to quickly get a grasp of this quirky, querulous, and ultimately rather adorable character. The simple story is enlivened by bold, expressive artwork and stylistic embellishments; Scaredy, an overthinker top to tail, is especially fond of lists and charts. An impressive collection of fears and cameos, including the insidiously ubiquitous Gary the Germ, promises plenty of nutty adventures to come (confirmed in the concluding FAQ).

In a nutshell: short and sweet. (Graphic fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30755-7

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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