The world is once again taking note of Punky Brewster, reimagining her origins in a playful comic format.
Abandoned by her mother in a parking lot, 8-year-old Punky is homeless. Acting as a beard for a con artist, she is eventually discovered and taken to a group home. When the home tries to locate her next of kin, they find a distant cousin living nearby. Henry Warnimont is a single, 50-something photographer who's more of a curmudgeon than a cuddler. However, Punky's offbeat spunk and Henry's gruff ways seem to genuinely mesh. Unfortunately, the courts are less than eager to turn over Punky to Henry's care, leading Punky to concoct all kinds of silly schemes. True to the 1980s TV show, this adaptation captures the essence of Punky: her catchphrases ("Holy Macanoli!"), her adorably hilarious butchering of phrases ("shin mannequins" for shenanigans), and her bottomless well of harebrained but well-intentioned ideas. Vamos' spirited illustrations do a keen job of bringing Punky's moxie to life. Originally a series of comic books, the book retains its serialized feel and takes its time to get going, but the animated antics do a fine job of helping the action along.
Today's kids might not have the fond nostalgia for Punky that their elders do, but her tale—and the idea that family is what you make it—is as likable as ever. (Graphic fiction. 7-11)