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TOMMYSAURUS REX

An enjoyable mixed bag of potty humor, insightfulness and the powerful bonds between a pet and its owner

A young boy loses his beloved dog, only to have him return as a feisty and lovable T-Rex.

Ely and Tommy are inseparable. Tommy might not be the best-behaved dog—he digs up Ely’s mother’s garden and steals bacon from the breakfast table—but he is loyal to Ely, and their bond is palpable. When Tommy meets a tragic end, Ely decides to spend the summer working at his grandfather’s farm. After being chased by a bully named Randy, he stumbles upon a gentle (and full-sized) T-Rex who reminds him of a certain dog he used to know. While Ely’s love for the prehistoric creature is immediate, the other townsfolk must be persuaded. When a plea to win their affections goes terribly wrong, Ely must again face the possibility of losing a friend. This colorized reprint of TenNapel’s 2004 indie graphic novel lacks some of the sophistication of his more recent works, relying more on crude humor to drive aspects of the story forward than on subtler techniques. However, his trademark inventiveness and depth are still present, making this an excellent offering for any dog lover or for anyone looking for a tale of friendship.

An enjoyable mixed bag of potty humor, insightfulness and the powerful bonds between a pet and its owner . (Graphic fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: June 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-48382-7

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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STEALING HOME

An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel.

Sandy and his family, Japanese Canadians, experience hatred and incarceration during World War II.

Sandy Saito loves baseball, and the Vancouver Asahi ballplayers are his heroes. But when they lose in the 1941 semifinals, Sandy’s dad calls it a bad omen. Sure enough, in December 1941, Japan bombs Pearl Harbor in the U.S. The Canadian government begins to ban Japanese people from certain areas, moving them to “dormitories” and setting a curfew. Sandy wants to spend time with his father, but as a doctor, his dad is busy, often sneaking out past curfew to work. One night Papa is taken to “where he [is] needed most,” and the family is forced into an internment camp. Life at the camp isn’t easy, and even with some of the Asahi players playing ball there, it just isn’t the same. Trying to understand and find joy again, Sandy struggles with his new reality and relationship with his father. Based on the true experiences of Japanese Canadians and the Vancouver Asahi team, this graphic novel is a glimpse of how their lives were affected by WWII. The end is a bit abrupt, but it’s still an inspiring and sweet look at how baseball helped them through hardship. The illustrations are all in a sepia tone, giving it an antique look and conveying the emotions and struggles. None of the illustrations of their experiences are overly graphic, making it a good introduction to this upsetting topic for middle-grade readers.

An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel. (afterword, further resources) (Graphic historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0334-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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STAY

Entrancing and uplifting.

A small dog, the elderly woman who owns him, and a homeless girl come together to create a tale of serendipity.

Piper, almost 12, her parents, and her younger brother are at the bottom of a long slide toward homelessness. Finally in a family shelter, Piper finds that her newfound safety gives her the opportunity to reach out to someone who needs help even more. Jewel, mentally ill, lives in the park with her dog, Baby. Unwilling to leave her pet, and forbidden to enter the shelter with him, she struggles with the winter weather. Ree, also homeless and with a large dog, helps when she can, but after Jewel gets sick and is hospitalized, Baby’s taken to the animal shelter, and Ree can’t manage the complex issues alone. It’s Piper, using her best investigative skills, who figures out Jewel’s backstory. Still, she needs all the help of the shelter Firefly Girls troop that she joins to achieve her accomplishment: to raise enough money to provide Jewel and Baby with a secure, hopeful future and, maybe, with their kindness, to inspire a happier story for Ree. Told in the authentic alternating voices of loving child and loyal dog, this tale could easily slump into a syrupy melodrama, but Pyron lets her well-drawn characters earn their believable happy ending, step by challenging step, by reaching out and working together. Piper, her family, and Jewel present white; Pyron uses hair and naming convention, respectively, to cue Ree as black and Piper’s friend Gabriela as Latinx.

Entrancing and uplifting. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-283922-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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