Gryphons might not be great, but this sweet tale of friendship certainly is. (Graphic early reader. 4-7)

GRYPHONS AREN'T SO GREAT

From the Adventures in Cartooning Jr. series

The Knight and his noble steed, Edward, find their friendship challenged when the Knight turns his attention to a new friend: a gryphon.

The garrulous Knight and his trusty, taciturn horse, Edward, are the best of friends. One day, while gallivanting around the kingdom (and unsuccessfully attempting to fly by jumping off a cliff), the Knight spies a gryphon aloft. Excited at the prospect of actual flight, he calls out to the mystical creature, and the two—after a slightly rocky start—become fast friends. They spend their day soaring across a robin's-egg-blue sky, as poor, forgotten Edward sits on the ground awaiting his friend's return. The next day, the Knight can barely contain himself as he waits for the gryphon's arrival. However, their sophomore flight doesn't go as smoothly as yesterday’s, and suddenly it's up to Edward to help his friend. Sturm et al. have crafted a gentle yet effective tale of friendship laid out in a clean panel structure and related with economical prose. This lively frolic is sure to please young readers, who should be not only able to relate to the feeling of being cast out of a friendship when someone new comes along and changes the dynamic, but also to read this independently.

Gryphons might not be great, but this sweet tale of friendship certainly is. (Graphic early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59643-652-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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A strong series start.

GAME OVER, SUPER RABBIT BOY!

From the Press Start! series , Vol. 1

In a video game, a superpowered rabbit must rescue a singing dog that brings everyone happiness.

In the frame story, a brown-skinned human protagonist plays a video game on a handheld console evocative of the classic Nintendo Gameboy. The bulk of the book relates the game’s storyline: Animal Town is a peaceful place where everyone is delighted by Singing Dog, until the fun-hating King Viking (whose black-mustachioed, pink-skinned looks reference the Super Mario Brothers game series villain, Wario) uses his army of robots to abduct Singing Dog. To save Singing Dog—and fun—the animals send the fastest among them, Simon the Hedgehog, to get Super Rabbit Boy (who gains speed and jumping powers by eating special carrots) to save the day. The chapters take Super Rabbit Boy through video game levels, with classic, video game–style settings and enemies. Throughout the book, when the game’s player loses either a life in the game or the game entirely, the unnamed kid must choose to persevere and not give up. The storylines are differentiated by colorful art styles—cartoonish for the real world, 8-bit pixel-sprite–style for the game. The fast, repetitive plot uses basic, simple sentences and child-friendly objects of interest, such as lakes of lava, for children working on reading independence, while the nerdy in-jokes benefit adults reading with a child.

A strong series start. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-03472-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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Fast and furious action guaranteed to keep new readers laughing and turning pages.

FROG AND BALL

From the I Like To Read Comics series

Never underestimate the chaotic fun that magic and an angry bouncing ball can create.

When Frog goes to the library, he borrows a book on magic. He then heads to a nearby park to read up on the skills necessary to becoming “a great magician.” Suddenly, a deflated yellow ball lands with a “Thud!” at his feet. Although he flexes his new magician muscles, Frog’s spells fall as flat as the ball. But when Frog shouts “Phooey!” and kicks the ball away, it inflates to become a big, angry ball. The ball begins to chase Frog, so he seeks shelter in the library—and Frog and ball turn the library’s usual calm into chaos. The cartoon chase crescendos. The ball bounces into the middle of a game of chess, interrupts a puppet show, and crashes into walls and bookcases. Staying just one bounce ahead, Frog runs, hides, grabs a ride on a book cart, and scatters books and papers as he slides across the library furniture before an alligator patron catches the ball and kicks it out the library door. But that’s not the end of the ball….Caple’s tidy panels and pastel-hued cartoons make a surprisingly effective setting for the slapstick, which should have young readers giggling. Simple sentences—often just subject and verb—with lots of repetition propel the action. Frog’s nonsense-word spells (“Poof Wiffle, Bop Bip!”) are both funny and excellent practice in phonetics. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Fast and furious action guaranteed to keep new readers laughing and turning pages. (Graphic early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4341-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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