A thoughtfully designed storybook adds another helpful tool to the box for readers who need support.

FRANK AND THE SKUNK

From the Meg and Greg series , Vol. 2

Meg and Greg’s summer-camp exploits lend themselves to fun phonics stories for emerging readers.

Buddies Meg and Greg are spending two weeks at sleepaway camp. Each of the four segments in the book details a different camp misadventure and heavily features the phonogram du jour: nk, ng, tch, or dge. This is the second book in a series designed for children just learning to read or readers who are struggling due to dyslexia or other learning difficulties. The format of each chapter features stories related in prose on the left-hand side of the double-page spread and comics-style panels, with illustration labels, cartoons, and speech bubbles, on the right. Extension activities at the end of each segment offer further opportunities for practice. Meg, Greg, and the other campers get mixed up in pranks, humorous surprises, and even a disastrous canoe trip, which will work to hold older readers’ attention without feeling too predictable. The story in some sections suffers under the burden of including as many phonograms as possible: When Meg and Greg must devise a skit for a contest using words that end with “ng,” they perform “The King’s Long Fangs.” Dyslexia-friendly features are integrated into the book, and strategies for using the text features are clearly explained. Meg and Greg present white; there is some diversity among secondary characters indicated in the illustrations.

A thoughtfully designed storybook adds another helpful tool to the box for readers who need support. (glossary, tips) (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4598-2493-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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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 Mancomics 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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A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

BAD KITTY GETS A PHONE (GRAPHIC NOVEL)

A craving for the latest tech leads to cat-astrophe in this new addition to the Bad Kitty series.

With her heart set on owning a cellphone, anthropomorphic house cat Kitty plows through three solid months of chores without complaining before her owners reluctantly grant her fervent wish. Then things go rapidly downhill. She becomes obsessed with violent mobile games, gets catfished (no pun intended), divulges too much personal information online, becomes consumed with rage at cyberbullies, and grows listless from excessive screen time. Only after the intervention of a Sphynx cat named Strange Kitty and a monthlong technology fast enforced by her owners does Kitty come to understand that while smartphones are fun, they can also be a serious distraction from real life and true friends. Using a digestible graphic-novel format, the book tackles internet safety and digital media literacy with purr-fect aplomb. The “Uncle Murray’s Fun Facts” section serves as a deep dive into the differences between facts and opinions, and many of Kitty’s quirky feline behaviors ring true. It’s unfortunate that the word lame—a disability-related term with negative connotations—is used by the internet trolls who deride the video Kitty makes and posts on “ViewTube.” Occasional misstep aside, Kitty’s tribulations provide ample fodder for this instructive and amusing tale.

A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly. (Graphic novel. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-74996-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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