More evidence that Squish is anything but a Wimpy Kid, for all his diminutive size.

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THE POWER OF THE PARASITE

From the Squish series , Vol. 3

Summer swim camp and a reckless new friend test a young amoeba’s courage and moral compass alike.

Squish has been left to face the scary pool alone because his buddies Peggy and Pod have gone to ballet camp. He is delighted to meet Basil, an equally water-averse hydra with the same taste in comics (which is to say, Super Amoeba) and the cool ability to detach portions of his body. But Basil also sports stingers at the ends of his tentacles that he meanly uses to trip up not only unwary fellow campers but even the camp leader. Squish is inspired by his revered comic-book superprotozoan, who in a parallel plot deals briskly with a visiting superhero, a self-serving fluke named Parasite whose arrogance and outsized sense of entitlement lead to some bad behavior—and also by Pod’s demonstration of how to open a black hole with a pirouette. Squish mends fences with the counselor, sends Basil packing (or most of him, anyway) and even finally nerves himself to dive into the pool. Blobby but clothed figures pose beneath big balloons of clearly lettered dialogue and side commentary in the Holms’ thick lined, minimally detailed panels, and the suburban backdrops make it even easier for younger readers to transpose the microbial cast to their macroscopic world.

More evidence that Squish is anything but a Wimpy Kid, for all his diminutive size. (science demo, drawing page) (Graphic novel. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 22, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-84391-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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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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