Nevertheless, the merits of this title will have new readers saying mahalo for a joyful, exuberant friendship story.

ALOHA!

From the Ollie & Moon series

This engaging beginning reader uses comic-book conventions and a Hawaiian setting to invite emergent readers into the story of odd-couple friends Ollie and Moon.

Cartoonish cats Ollie and Moon look like they’ve stepped from an animated television series of their own, but they are original creations for this series. Accompanied by their silent, snail sidekick, Stanley, they play the sunny days away. Ollie likes to try new games, while Moon prefers to consult her many lists to come up with familiar activities. Humor abounds in all scenarios, achieved through narrative text, speech-balloon dialogue and downright goofy pictorial antics. The one major drawback in the book is its lack of artistic cohesion: Backgrounds sometimes employ photographs of lush, Hawaiian beachscapes, which, though consistent with series format, may prove distracting rather than enriching. Mo Willems’ work in the Knuffle Bunny picture books avoids such missteps with sepia-toned photographic backdrops that allow the characters to pop out, but in Kredensor’s work, the effect of full-color backgrounds is overwhelming. Far more successful are those pictures that have clean, white backgrounds—especially given the need to provide ample resting space for eyes new to decoding text and navigating the dynamic between words and pictures.

Nevertheless, the merits of this title will have new readers saying mahalo for a joyful, exuberant friendship story. (Early reader. 6-9)

Pub Date: June 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-97950-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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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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