Like pizza, this David-and-Goliath crowd-pleaser is hot and fresh.

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WOLFIE MONSTER AND THE BIG BAD PIZZA BATTLE

A cheerful monster faces off against a diabolical businessman.

With one large eye, bright purple arms, a blue head and body, rosy pink feet and cheeks, and an unrelenting smile, Wolfie Monster runs Magik Cheez Pizza along with his brothers, Jackson and Roy. Wolfie and Roy are both goofy and laid-back, while Type A Jackson struggles to manage the business. When successful mega-corporation Happy Leaf moves into their town, its owner, the take-no-prisoners Lord Mudpant, offers to buy out Magik Cheez. Roy and Jackson are eager to sell, but Wolfie is not interested. The fiendish Mudpant plots to make Happy Leaf the only choice in town and will stop at nothing to achieve pizza domination; can a little monster win against a big businessman? Wolfie is silly and bumbling, but his best friend, Bea, has the good sense needed to take on the nefarious Mudpant. With a good amount of pop and fizz, this fun, fast-paced graphic offering will delight readers with its giggle-inducing antics set against a timely backdrop. Most of the main characters are male; female Bea is a sunny, tangerine-colored monster with cheery purple hair and body and is depicted in a complementary palette and similar body shape as the male characters, with none of the stereotypical feminine signifiers such as eyelashes or hair bows.

Like pizza, this David-and-Goliath crowd-pleaser is hot and fresh. (Graphic fantasy. 6-10)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-18604-8

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low.

DOG MAN AND CAT KID

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 4

Recasting Dog Man and his feline ward, Li’l Petey, as costumed superheroes, Pilkey looks East of Eden in this follow-up to Tale of Two Kitties (2017).

The Steinbeck novel’s Cain/Abel motif gets some play here, as Petey, “world’s evilest cat” and cloned Li’l Petey’s original, tries assiduously to tempt his angelic counterpart over to the dark side only to be met, ultimately at least, by Li’l Petey’s “Thou mayest.” (There are also occasional direct quotes from the novel.) But inner struggles between good and evil assume distinctly subordinate roles to riotous outer ones, as Petey repurposes robots built for a movie about the exploits of Dog Man—“the thinking man’s Rin Tin Tin”—while leading a general rush to the studio’s costume department for appropriate good guy/bad guy outfits in preparation for the climactic battle. During said battle and along the way Pilkey tucks in multiple Flip-O-Rama inserts as well as general gags. He lists no fewer than nine ways to ask “who cut the cheese?” and includes both punny chapter titles (“The Bark Knight Rises”) and nods to Hamilton and Mary Poppins. The cartoon art, neatly and brightly colored by Garibaldi, is both as easy to read as the snappy dialogue and properly endowed with outsized sound effects, figures displaying a range of skin colors, and glimpses of underwear (even on robots).

More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low. (drawing instructions) (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-93518-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

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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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