Like Godot, this book is both comic and perplexing. Readers with an absurdist sensibility will appreciate the slow pacing....

READ REVIEW

APOCALYPSE BOW WOW

It would be wrong to say that this book is Waiting for Godot with dogs, despite superficial similarities.

This graphic novel isn’t much like Samuel Beckett’s play, although it is arranged in scenes. The main problem in Godot is existential angst. The main problem in this comic is doorknobs. Dogs can’t open doors, so they have to wait for their owners to bring them food, and the wait is endless, because every human in the world seems to have disappeared after an unnamed disaster. There are lengthy, circular conversations about food: “I’m hungry.” “Aren’t you always hungry?” The comic book has more fight scenes than Godot, which means there are multiple appearances by the book’s funniest character, a flea who’s read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. He’s always ready to give the dogs cryptic advice: “The opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.” Unfortunately, whenever he leaves the story, the dialogue turns mundane. Here’s Scene 3 in its entirety: “How come you get to lie on the couch?” Some readers will find the banality hilarious. No other post-apocalyptic novel has this many conversations about furniture. And the black-and-white artwork is endearingly primitive. The dogs are shaped like little sausages or maybe heretofore-undiscovered continents.

Like Godot, this book is both comic and perplexing. Readers with an absurdist sensibility will appreciate the slow pacing. Other children may get tired of waiting. (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61963-442-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2012

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Newbery Medal Winner

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more