Encore, please! (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)

READ REVIEW

THE STRATFORD ZOO MIDNIGHT REVUE PRESENTS MACBETH

Ever wonder what zoo animals do at night? Why, they perform Shakespeare, of course!

As the zookeeper locks the gate to the Stratford Zoo, the animals are just beginning to set up for their evening performance of Macbeth. The characters are all present and accounted for: a hungry, ketchup-loving lion Macbeth, who discovers an insatiable new taste for power; a trusting and bumbling owl Duncan; a leopard Lady Macbeth, who realizes in a fury that she has indelible spots; and a stork—who was delivered by another of his own kind, not born to a mother—as MacDuff. This innovative and intelligent reimagining hits all the notes of the Bard’s famous play yet manages to put enough of a spin on it to keep it fresh and novel. (Though it makes a few age-appropriate changes, like changing a key word in Lady Macbeth’s famous monologue to “dumb.”) Those too young to appreciate the original play will certainly grasp this cleverly anthropomorphized, lushly envisioned graphic romp, not realizing how effectively they are being set up for the original later on. As the menagerie’s nighttime performance ends and another day begins, the rest of the animals await the next play: Romeo and Juliet; let’s hope that readers will be privy to that performance as well.

Encore, please! (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59643-915-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

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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Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

GHOSTS

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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