Get set for gags aplenty…and not just the visual sort.

SLIME FOR DINNER

From the Geronimo Stilton Graphic Novels series , Vol. 2

A missing coffin isn’t the only mystery on Geronimo Stilton’s plate.

Moldy mozzarella! In the wake of a pretend (or perhaps real!) heist, a mystery-themed dinner at Creepella Cacklefur’s castle quickly devolves into a mad rush from one hidden clue to the next. This is punctuated by courses ranging from toad slime and kraken tentacles to mystery giblets on a stick, all dished up by guest chef Boffo Flambé. There are also encounters with werecanaries and a horde of howling werewolf slugs, not to mention moat slime, cave slime, and (perhaps worst of all) sloth snot sorbet for dessert. (Readers will sympathize with our hero’s reluctance to partake, a running gag throughout.) Alert readers will doubtless detect a theme, and Angleberger’s just the one to amplify it with big sequential panels both decked out in loud colors and packed with a rodent cartoon cast that is drawn with manic energy and, often, covered in gooey gloobs. “I had slime for dinner,” Geronimo Stilton laments. “Now slime is having me for dinner!” Based on an episode published in Italy but not in the U.S. and so new even to series fans on this side of the Atlantic, the latest graphic caper from the mild-mannered journalist/sleuth will slide off the shelves whenever a slightly scary tale or, for that matter, a general grossfest is in order.

Get set for gags aplenty…and not just the visual sort. (Graphic mystery. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-58735-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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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 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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Wholesome, uncomplicated fare for the younger Matt Christopher crowd.

THE MISSING BASEBALL

From the Zach and Zoe Mysteries series , Vol. 1

Lupica kicks off a new series starring a pair of 8-year-old twins who solve sports-themed mysteries.

Even the pleasures of competing in various events during his school’s Spirit Week dim a smidge for Zach Walker when the prized autographed baseball he brings to his third-grade class for show and tell vanishes. Happily, his bookish but equally sports-loving sister, Zoe, is on the case, and by the time of the climactic baseball game at week’s end, she has pieced together clues and deductions that lead to the lost treasure—which had not been stolen but batted through an open window by the teacher’s cat and stashed in a storage shed by the custodian. In the co-published sequel, The Half-Court Hero, the equally innocuous conundrum hangs on the identity of the mysterious “guardian angel” who is fixing up a run-down playground basketball court. Along with plenty of suspenseful sports action, the author highlights in both tales the values of fair play, teamwork, and doing the “right thing.” The Walker family presents white, but in both the narrative and Danger’s appropriately bland (if inappropriately static) illustrations, the supporting cast shows some racial and ethnic diversity.

Wholesome, uncomplicated fare for the younger Matt Christopher crowd. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-425-28936-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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