A disturbing but, considering the storyline, entirely justified interpretation.

Relief-print illustrations in red and black give this retelling of Andersen’s unhappy love story between a one-legged tin soldier and a ballerina doll a particularly dark edge.

Yoon makes only minor changes to Andersen’s narrative, but her choices for color and imagery add naturalistic, even brutal notes. These are highlighted by the soldier’s encounters with a nightmarish jack-in-the-box “troll” and a huge, vicious sewer rat, followed by his later rediscovery amid the guts and gore of a fish being chopped up for the stew pot. Mirroring the soldier, the ballerina, frozen in midpirouette, is angled throughout so that only one leg is visible. Yoon’s figures are all flat, with fixed eyes and mottled surfaces. The deep black and vivid red color scheme casts a perfervid glare over jumbled settings and piles of antique toys (including, anachronistically, a retro-style robot) and looks particularly hellish in the depiction of the flames in which the lovers are climactically united…for an instant. Or maybe that’s supposed to be the consuming flames of love? This is not recommended for bedtime reading.

A disturbing but, considering the storyline, entirely justified interpretation. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59270-202-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


From the Dog Man series , Vol. 1

What a wag.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016


Taking a seat in first class aboard the graphic-novels-for-preteens train, this import features a carrot-topped lass who travels the starways with her piratical uncle Yellow Shoulders, foiling the plots of Supermuscleman, nefarious Chief Executive Dictator of the Universe. Presented in small sequential panels of brightly hued cartoon art and spacious dialogue balloons, Sardine’s adventures take her from the space prison Azkatraz to Planet Discoball (for a dance contest presided over by Empress Laser Diskette and her offspring, Prince Beejeez), from encounters with deadly, as well as thoroughly nerve-wracking, Honkfish to a deliciously violent round of “No-Child-Left-Behind-School II,” a virtual game. With nonstop action, humor geared to multiple levels of cultural awareness and the promise of more episodes to come, even readers stubbornly resisting the trendy format’s lure will find that, as Supermuscleman sneers shortly before gorily blasting his own foot, “Resistance is futile.” (Graphic novel. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-59643-126-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: First Second/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2006

Close Quickview