They say a picture is worth a thousand words; here's one story that would be better with no words at all.

BIRD & SQUIRREL ON THE RUN

Burks manages to turn The Odd Couple into an adventure story.

The Odd Couple is one of the most important stories in the history of Western culture. Oscar and Felix were archetypes when they were called Bert and Ernie and when they were called the Grasshopper and the Ant. In that tradition, Squirrel is a fussbudget who’s afraid of beetles, spiders, running out of acorns and forgetting his toothbrush. Bird isn’t afraid of anything and can usually be found flying upside down. The story only works if the characters get on each other’s nerves. The problem here is that it works much too well. Bird is more annoying than Bert and Felix put together. Bird never stops talking, even when being chased by an enormous cat. That’s the moment when Bird says, “Is it true that dogs are smarter than cats?” Some readers may decide to ignore the dialogue and just look at the pictures, which are so cinematic that you can almost see the cat’s whiskers twitching. The character design is astounding. Squirrel’s head is shaped like a little acorn (complete with cap), and even the trees look like fractal patterns, spiraling off the page.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words; here's one story that would be better with no words at all. (Graphic adventure. 6-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-31283-7

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

DOG MAN AND CAT KID

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 4

Recasting Dog Man and his feline ward, Li’l Petey, as costumed superheroes, Pilkey looks East of Eden in this follow-up to Tale of Two Kitties (2017).

The Steinbeck novel’s Cain/Abel motif gets some play here, as Petey, “world’s evilest cat” and cloned Li’l Petey’s original, tries assiduously to tempt his angelic counterpart over to the dark side only to be met, ultimately at least, by Li’l Petey’s “Thou mayest.” (There are also occasional direct quotes from the novel.) But inner struggles between good and evil assume distinctly subordinate roles to riotous outer ones, as Petey repurposes robots built for a movie about the exploits of Dog Man—“the thinking man’s Rin Tin Tin”—while leading a general rush to the studio’s costume department for appropriate good guy/bad guy outfits in preparation for the climactic battle. During said battle and along the way Pilkey tucks in multiple Flip-O-Rama inserts as well as general gags. He lists no fewer than nine ways to ask “who cut the cheese?” and includes both punny chapter titles (“The Bark Knight Rises”) and nods to Hamilton and Mary Poppins. The cartoon art, neatly and brightly colored by Garibaldi, is both as easy to read as the snappy dialogue and properly endowed with outsized sound effects, figures displaying a range of skin colors, and glimpses of underwear (even on robots).

More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low. (drawing instructions) (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-93518-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Did you like this book?

What a wag.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

DOG MAN

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 1

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

Did you like this book?

more