Hand this goofy bigfoot to young readers eager to get their starts in graphic novels.

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HOW TO SPOT A SASQUATCH

Young ranger Jay uses his camping trip to capture evidence of the Sasquatch while unknowingly being occasionally pranked by one himself.

“Sound off!” Jay, a little Asian boy, is so engrossed in his quest to find the elusive Sasquatch that he is oblivious to the prompts from Ranger Dove (a young woman of color). Each member of his diverse troop questions his search tactics, which he eagerly answers only to be rebuked. Unbeknownst to all, Jay’s “lures” successfully intrigue a flower- and occasionally grass-skirt–wearing sasquatch named Sass and her posse of savvy woodland friends. In episodes characterized by quirky and physical humor, Sass messes with Jay and his troop: She leaves a “Sasquatch Footprint” (really a butt-print); she also puts out their campfire by spitting river water all over it. Things start to get real (well…Sass gets only a tad more serious) when she saves Jay from drowning and Jay wants to thank her. The story moves back and forth between the rangers and Sass and her friends, easily developing both sets of characters. Torres is a veteran of comic-book writing, and it shows, the text conveyed only in dialogue, sans narrator or footnotes. Grand’s thin, pencil-lined illustrations and the linear layout of rectangular panels make the story easy to follow for younger readers.

Hand this goofy bigfoot to young readers eager to get their starts in graphic novels. (Graphic fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77147-277-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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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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Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization.

A PLACE FOR PLUTO

If Pluto can’t be a planet—then what is he?

Having been a regular planet for “the better part of forever,” Pluto is understandably knocked out of orbit by his sudden exclusion. With Charon and his four other moons in tow he sets off in search of a new identity. Unfortunately, that only spins him into further gloom, as he doesn’t have a tail like his friend Halley’s comet, is too big to join Ida and the other asteroids, and feels disinclined to try to crash into Earth like meteoroids Gem and Persi. Then, just as he’s about to plunge into a black hole of despair, an encounter with a whole quartet of kindred spheroids led by Eris rocks his world…and a follow-up surprise party thrown by an apologetic Saturn (“Dwarf planet has a nice RING to it”) and the other seven former colleagues literally puts him “over the moon.” Demmer gives all the heavenly bodies big eyes (some, including the feminine Saturn, with long lashes) and, on occasion, short arms along with distinctive identifying colors or markings. Dressing the troublemaking meteoroids in do-rags and sunglasses sounds an off note. Without mentioning that the reclassification is still controversial, Wade closes with a (somewhat) straighter account of Pluto’s current official status and the reasons for it.

Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-004-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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