A jumble of frenetic energy and bad jokes for readers with a taste for same.



From the Dinomighty! series

A team of dino-heroes foils the plots of their archenemies in this energetic graphic novel.

Dinomighties to the rescue! Purple Teri-Dactyl is “a motivated and resilient go-getter”; Dave is an orange triceratops who loves food and “pumping iron”; teal T-Lex loves selfies (but it’s a bummer they’re all of her chin) and loud roars; and Bach is an extremely intelligent, science-loving chicken whose only utterance is the sound “bok.” When the team receives an anonymous email with the message “D0n’+ L00k n0w bu+ +r0ubl3 1s af00t,” they know someone is looking to become their archnemeses. Soon the Dinomighties learn that “bad guys extraordinaire” Diplodocus and Diplodoofus have plotted to steal the “golden egglettes…the most valuable jewels in all of Dinotown and beyond,” which are hidden away in Cosmos Castle. It’s up to the Dinomighties to save the day. The script is filled with painful puns and easy jokes just waiting for a percussive sting. From a character-development standpoint, the team’s dynamic is supportive but chaotic, and it’s unclear how or why the Dinomighties assembled in the first place. Blecha’s cartoon stylization is filled to the brim with bright colors, goofy faces, and action-oriented emanata that leave readers little space to rest their eyes, but those with a tolerance for visual noise will certainly be engaged. Dinos assigned feminine pronouns are drawn with pronounced eyelashes even though they are reptiles.

A jumble of frenetic energy and bad jokes for readers with a taste for same. (Graphic adventure. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-33156-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Etch/HMH

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low.


From the Dog Man series , Vol. 4

Recasting Dog Man and his feline ward, Li’l Petey, as costumed superheroes, Pilkey looks East of Eden in this follow-up to Tale of Two Kitties (2017).

The Steinbeck novel’s Cain/Abel motif gets some play here, as Petey, “world’s evilest cat” and cloned Li’l Petey’s original, tries assiduously to tempt his angelic counterpart over to the dark side only to be met, ultimately at least, by Li’l Petey’s “Thou mayest.” (There are also occasional direct quotes from the novel.) But inner struggles between good and evil assume distinctly subordinate roles to riotous outer ones, as Petey repurposes robots built for a movie about the exploits of Dog Man—“the thinking man’s Rin Tin Tin”—while leading a general rush to the studio’s costume department for appropriate good guy/bad guy outfits in preparation for the climactic battle. During said battle and along the way Pilkey tucks in multiple Flip-O-Rama inserts as well as general gags. He lists no fewer than nine ways to ask “who cut the cheese?” and includes both punny chapter titles (“The Bark Knight Rises”) and nods to Hamilton and Mary Poppins. The cartoon art, neatly and brightly colored by Garibaldi, is both as easy to read as the snappy dialogue and properly endowed with outsized sound effects, figures displaying a range of skin colors, and glimpses of underwear (even on robots).

More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low. (drawing instructions) (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-93518-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

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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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