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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This effervescent package opens to reveal plenty of wisdom.

WRITTEN AND DRAWN BY HENRIETTA

Argentine cartoonist Liniers presents a graphic ode to the pleasures and challenges of composition, starring his recurring character Henrietta, a young bibliophile.

The little girl's cat, Fellini, looks on as she writes and illustrates "The Monster with Three Heads and Two Hats." Page by page, she narrates her process, her own story appearing in a childlike, colored-pencil scrawl alongside Liniers' polished panels. "In a good story, there's always something that happens 'suddenly'!" she informs Fellini as a hand emerges from a wardrobe into her protagonist's nighttime bedroom. Henrietta and her creator are kindred spirits, displaying equal knacks for the surreal and the utterly charming. "The wardrobe was made in Narnia," she explains to Fellini as she propels protagonist and monster into it, where they discover an inscrutable mouse, a hat for the monster's bare head, and another monster. Liniers covers the importance of judiciously placed punctuation ("those three little dots really add... / ...SUSPENSE!") and research (a trip to the encyclopedia yields a bonanza of hat styles, all depicted) as well as the excitement of creation: "I'm drawing really fast 'cause I want to see what happens next." If the final joke comes at Henrietta's expense ("let's go look for a publisher," she declares at "THE END"), it does so gently and with collegiality. A Spanish-language edition, Escrito y Dibujado por Enriqueta, publishes simultaneously.

This effervescent package opens to reveal plenty of wisdom. (Graphic early reader. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-935179-90-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: TOON Books & Graphics

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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SARDINE IN OUTER SPACE 2

Young space pirate Sardine checks in for a dozen more mini-adventures, in most of which she, her sidekick Little Louie and hulking captain Yellow Shoulder get the better of evil Supermuscleman and his rubbery orange minion Doc Krok. Along with occasional side trips to play soccer with a giant Dunderhead’s detachable navel or to rescue Yellow Shoulder, the heroic pirates sabotage Supermuscleman’s child brainwashing machine, treat him to an explosive set of Christmas presents and engage in a high speed chase along the Milky Way that ends suddenly when the Milk turns. In one episode that edges perilously close to over-the-top, a pair of his stuttering star thieves briefly captures them. All related in cartoon panels, printed on coated paper to brighten the colors and featuring easily legible lettering in big dialogue balloons, these episodes might seem a touch repetitious to adults, especially those familiar with volume one (May 2006), but they will keep the younger audiences to whom they’re actually addressed chortling. (Graphic novel. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-59643-127-X

Page Count: 128

Publisher: First Second/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2006

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