A solid pick for readers who have graduated from Elephant and Piggie, Frog and Toad, and Narwhal and Jelly.

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PETER & ERNESTO

A TALE OF TWO SLOTHS

From the Peter & Ernesto series , Vol. 1

Two sloth friends explore the world beyond their tree in this sweet graphic novel.

Odd-couple sloths Peter and Ernesto live together in a tree, contentedly watching clouds and snacking on hibiscus. Peter bursts into joyful song: “Nothing ever changes for you and me!” Unfortunately for Peter, this has an unintended effect: Ernesto realizes he needs to see more of the world and decides to depart for his journey immediately, leaving worrywart Peter behind. As his concern for Ernesto spirals, Peter frantically decides to follow his friend and make sure he’s safe. The story alternates between the separated duo as Peter follows in Ernesto’s footsteps. They each cross oceans and make new friends before finally reuniting and returning home. Annable’s soft, expressive illustrations juxtapose Ernesto’s easy, optimistic joy with Peter’s apprehensive courage as they explore the world for the first time. Clearly delineated panels ensure that newer readers won’t lose their way. Perplexingly, Annable veers away from the traditional comedy gold sloths provide, giving the duo speedy, apelike movement, opposable thumbs (and no iconic claws), and knowledge of species outside of their environment. Despite these oddities, many readers will look forward to the next adventure.

A solid pick for readers who have graduated from Elephant and Piggie, Frog and Toad, and Narwhal and Jelly. (Graphic fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-561-4

Page Count: 130

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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What a wag.

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DOG MAN

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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