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

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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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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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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