Like fast food, this is quick and goes down easy.

CATCH THE MUNCHIES!

From the Carlton Crumple Creature Catch series , Vol. 1

When fast-food-frenzied monsters descend, only one hero can save the day.

Bespectacled Carlton Crumple is relentlessly terrorized by his mulleted older brother, Milt, and grows up fearful of everything. Talking to his best friend, Lulu, Carlton has a sudden insight, deciding to stop being scared and to become a creature catcher. He lands a job at Chubbzy Cheeseburgers but is sternly reprimanded when he replaces the ketchup with his superspicy Awesome Chili Sauce. When a horde of fast-food–obsessed (but not-too-scary) monsters attack, Carlton Crumple, Creature Catcher, and his special sauce may be key to stopping them. This middle-grade graphic offering is the first in a proposed series (with a promised second volume entitled Tater Invaders). Writer and illustrator Fremont’s animation background is highly visible here, with fast pacing, quirky characters, and ample silliness. Driven by its jet-fueled plotting, young readers careen from one side-splitting scene to the next as the simply wrought, full-color (courtesy of Matison) cartoons rocket sequences along. Those who enjoy complex characters may be at a loss, but those who want their humor to have a fast and furious velocity should be right at home here, making this perfect for fans of series like Chris Schweizer’s The Creeps or Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s Lunch Lady. Carlton appears to be white; secondary characters display various skin tones.

Like fast food, this is quick and goes down easy. (Graphic fantasy. 7-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64595001-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Pixel+Ink

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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This kid-friendly satire ably sets claws into a certain real-life franchise.

BAD KITTY GOES ON VACATION

From the Bad Kitty (chapter book) series

A trip to the Love Love Angel Kitty World theme park (“The Most Super Incredibly Happy Place on Earth!”) turns out to be an exercise in lowered expectations…to say the least.

When Uncle Murray wins a pair of free passes it seems at first like a dream come true—at least for Kitty, whose collection of Love Love Kitty merch ranges from branded underwear to a pink chainsaw. But the whole trip turns into a series of crises beginning with the (as it turns out) insuperable challenge of getting a cat onto an airplane, followed by the twin discoveries that the hotel room doesn’t come with a litter box and that the park doesn’t allow cats. Even kindhearted Uncle Murray finds his patience, not to say sanity, tested by extreme sticker shock in the park’s gift shop and repeated exposures to Kitty World’s literally nauseating theme song (notation included). He is not happy. Fortunately, the whole cloying enterprise being a fiendish plot to make people so sick of cats that they’ll pick poultry as favorite pets instead, the revelation of Kitty’s feline identity puts the all-chicken staff to flight and leaves the financial coffers plucked. Uncle Murray’s White, dumpy, middle-aged figure is virtually the only human one among an otherwise all-animal cast in Bruel’s big, rapidly sequenced, and properly comical cartoon panels.

This kid-friendly satire ably sets claws into a certain real-life franchise. (Graphic satire. 8-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20808-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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ATTACK OF THE SHARK-HEADED ZOMBIE

Aimed straight at proto-Goosebumps fans, this formulaic series opener pits two 9-year-olds against a great white shark with legs. Having lost his bike in a lake thanks to the latest hare-brained scheme of his impulsive cousin Henry, bookish Keats reluctantly agrees to finance a replacement by earning some money taking on odd jobs at a spooky local mansion. The prosaic task of weeding the garden quickly turns into an extended flight through a series of magical rooms after a shark monster rises out of the ground and gives chase. Dashing from one narrow squeak to the next, the lads encounter a kitchen with an invisible "sink," a giant vomiting bookworm in the library, a carpet pattern in the hall that (literally) bites and, most usefully, a magic wand that they get to keep (setting up future episodes) after spelling the monster away. Tilted points of view give the occasional illustrations more energy than the labored plot ever musters, and the characters rarely show even two dimensions. Fledgling readers will do better in the hands of Jim Benton’s Franny K. Stein series or Bruce and Katherine Coville’s Moongobble and Me books. (Horror. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 26, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86675-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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