Guaranteed to make readers feel like they’ve woken up on the right side of the bed.

OGRES AWAKE!

From the Adventures in Cartooning Jr. series

The Knight and Edward find their kingdom besieged by sleeping ogres—what should they do?

On a day seemingly like any other, the Knight and steed Edward (who’s shaped like a kidney bean) discover that giant, sleeping ogres are right outside their castle (and using sheep as pillows!). The Knight immediately alerts the king, who sends the headstrong protagonist on a noble quest: to help the garden gnomes pick and transport vegetables, then to peel a veritable mountain of potatoes and carrots. The Knight, ready for battle, quickly learns that the king has another, gentler tactic to deal with the cranky giants. This third installment in the Adventures in Cartooning Jr. series keeps a lively pace with its predecessors, missing nary a step and employing the same clean lines, oversized panels, and deceptively simple plotting. The Knight is always ready to act first and think later, but as ever, is slowed down by an outside force and made to re-examine the situation at hand. Endpapers provide instructions to draw the Knight and Edward as well as the newly introduced characters of the gnomes and the ogres, including such tongue-in-cheek flourishes as an Elvis ogre or “struttin’ ” gnome. The Knight’s helmet never comes off, allowing readers to imagine the character however they choose; all the other humanoid characters are depicted with a diverse variety of skin tones.

Guaranteed to make readers feel like they’ve woken up on the right side of the bed. (Graphic early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59643-653-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

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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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