An addition to the Bone corpus sure to delight fans new and old.

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BONE ADVENTURES

From the Bone series

Two whimsical adventures in the Bone universe are scaled for newcomers in this picture book with a graphic-novel feel.

In Smith’s newest addition to his ever expanding oeuvre, the adorable Bone boys are back for two new escapades. The first, “Finders Keepers,” features the tall and goofy Smiley Bone, sly and suspendered Phoney Bone, and earnest Fone Bone as they debate how to spend an unexpected windfall. Phoney and Smiley want to spend the money frivolously while Fone Bone presents a more sensible option. When they cannot come to a consensus, the trio finds themselves with nothing to show, gently emphasizing the importance of teamwork and cooperation. In the second tale, “Smiley’s Dream Book” (originally published as a stand-alone in 2018), Smiley has a wondrous reverie, counting birds with bespoke hats and scarves, until a fierce hawk threatens the fun. Fear not, Smiley will save the day, and his bravery is sure to elicit giggles from even the most stoic reader. Each full-color page (tints courtesy of Gaadt) is laid out as one framed panel with large, bright artwork, largely wordless action sequences, and easy-to-read, economically worded speech balloons. With its emphasis on sharing and counting, this is certainly slanted toward emerging readers, but older readers already familiar with the Bones should enjoy spending time with well-loved characters. All three characters present as male.

An addition to the Bone corpus sure to delight fans new and old. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-62068-9

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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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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This high-wattage debut is a little rough around the edges, but there’s nary a dull moment.

CAT DAD, KING OF THE GOBLINS

A pair of sisters and a froggy sidekick go up against a horde of fungal jungle dwellers in this frantically paced Canadian import.

When Mom transforms Dad into a cat, 10-year-old Luey, her leggy green friend, Phil, and little sister Miri chase him through a closet door and down a jungle path into a maze of tunnels. They manage to rescue their errant parent from the maroon-colored, cat-worshiping goblins that had overrun the garden. (They are not the “mythological” sort, explains Wilson, but sentient mushrooms dressed in towels.) The three put most of their pursuers to flight by rubbing Dad’s fur the wrong way to turn him into a raving, furry maniac (the rest flee at the closet door, screaming “IT’S THE MOM CREATURE! RETREAT!!”). Captured in multiple, sometimes overly small panels of garishly colored cartoon art, the action—not to mention the internal logic—is sometimes hard to follow. Still, dragging along their timorous but canny buddy, the dark-skinned, big-haired sisters dash into danger with commendable vim, and readers will cheer when they come out triumphant on the other side.

This high-wattage debut is a little rough around the edges, but there’s nary a dull moment. (afterword) (Graphic fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-927668-11-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Koyama Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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