Fun with a socially conscious message—these heroes charm with humor, talent, and, above all, friendship.


From the Super Sidekicks series , Vol. 2

The Super Sidekicks return to save humanity from a dangerous foe—who turns out to be of humankind’s own making.

Following their origin story in No Adults Allowed (2020) and still trying to establish themselves as legitimate crime fighters in their own rights, the Super Sidekicks become aware of a new threat to Sydney. An enormous monster made of bits and pieces from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has invaded the harbor, and the adult superheroes have mysteriously disappeared. Junior Justice, Flygirl, Dinomite, and Goo use their individual talents and teamwork to take down the power behind the monster—who is ultimately trying to protect the ocean and its inhabitants. While the heroes’ solutions to plastic pollution are oversimplified and unrealistic, the message promoting urgent environmental action is presented in an accessible and entertaining way. Importantly, this second volume maintains the goofy humor and dynamic action scenes that made the first book so enjoyable. Dinomite’s sarcasm is acerbic without being abrasive, and Junior Justice prompts lighthearted laughs by taking himself just a tad too seriously. Highly effective and engaging layouts help readers follow the action, and shifts in perspective and panel size immerse readers in the lively, energetic scenes. The bright, cartoony colors reinforce the heroes’ sunny outlook and exuberant tone. Junior Justice is cued as Southeast Asian with black hair and light-brown skin, and Flygirl reads White, with pale skin and red hair. The adults are a mix of racial presentations.

Fun with a socially conscious message—these heroes charm with humor, talent, and, above all, friendship. (waste-management tips, drawing tips) (Graphic adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-17509-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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Fans of the series will be delighted.


From the Click series , Vol. 4

Can Olive stay positive when a social-climbing bully moves to town?

In her fourth adventure, sixth grader Olive Branche is on top of the world until new girl Natasha begins to encroach on her friendships, slowly and methodically freezing her out of her many different social circles. Relentlessly optimistic Olive tries to stay genial despite Nat’s overt jibes, but when Nat takes it to a new level and ruins Olive’s carefully planned Halloween party, Olive finally confronts her. When Nat finds herself consequently ostracized, empathetic Olive has a change of heart and extends her an olive branch (groan). Olive and Nat’s relationship is highly idealized, bordering almost on wish fulfillment; Nat’s backstory offers some explanation for her behavior, but she is accepted back into the fold more easily than may seem realistic. Olive’s appeal is in her unceasing Pollyanna-like sunniness and her ability to be accommodating and find the best in every situation. Though consistent in tone with its predecessors, in this entry Olive does have some moments of anger (albeit quickly reconciled); her portrayal here is the most human she’s been throughout the series. Although this is the fourth installment, each volume is mostly self-contained, making this equally accessible for established and new readers. Olive and Nat read as White; the supporting cast is inclusive and diverse.

Fans of the series will be delighted. (Halloween costume craft ideas, author Q&A) (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-24220-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Etch/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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