With rampant whimsy and cheerful silliness, expect this to hit funny bones with laser accuracy.

LASER MOOSE AND RABBIT BOY

A moose that can shoot laser beams out his eyes—what could be better?

The titular moose (whose abnormal ocular powers are never explained) and his gentle rabbit friend live together in a charming pastoral wood. However, Laser Moose knows that danger can lurk around every tree. In action-filled, largely wordless sequences, the pair battle flower-chomping extraterrestrials; the fearsome blue mutant Aquabear; and the mechanically equipped, destruction-bent Mechasquirrel created by the nefarious Cyborgupine. Playing off their differences, Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy make a wonderfully droll team; Laser Moose is suspicious of everything and prefers to shoot first (which has some unfortunate ramifications for some of his forest brethren), while Rabbit Boy is optimistic and unfalteringly upbeat. Throughout their exploits, the pair holds fast to their archetypes, giving this the peppy feel of animated cartoons. Big, bright panels with simple, line-based, flat illustrations rocket their adventures along as they battle their foes, keeping attention focused on the action. Savage includes an additional vignette about how lasers work. With this appealing yet oddball premise, a lovably bizarre cast of characters, and high visual allure, this should be an easy sell for young readers.

With rampant whimsy and cheerful silliness, expect this to hit funny bones with laser accuracy. (Graphic science fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4494-7094-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.

THE BAD GUYS

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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A multicultural title with obvious appeal for animal-loving middle graders.

TIGER BOY

When a Bengali boy finds and saves a tiger cub from a man who wants to sell her on the black market, he realizes that the schoolwork he resents could lead to a career protecting his beloved Sunderbans island home.

When the not-yet-weaned cub escapes from a nearby reserve, Neel and many of his neighbors join the search. But some are in the pay of greedy Gupta, a shady entrepreneur who’s recently settled in their community. Even Neel’s father is tempted by Gupta’s money, although he knows that Gupta doesn’t plan to take the cub back to the refuge. Neel and his sister use the boy’s extensive knowledge of the island’s swampy interior to find the cub’s hiding place and lure it out so it can be returned to its mother. The Kolkota-born author visited the remote Sunderbans in the course of her research. She lovingly depicts this beautiful tropical forest in the context of Neel’s efforts to find the cub and his reluctance to leave his familiar world. While the conflicts resolve a bit too easily, the sense of place is strong and the tiger cub’s rescue very satisfying. Pastel illustrations will help readers envision the story.

A multicultural title with obvious appeal for animal-loving middle graders. (author's note, organizations, glossary) (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58089-660-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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