A second round of hilarity.

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STINKBOMB AND KETCHUP-FACE AND THE QUEST FOR THE MAGIC PORCUPINE

From the Stinkbomb & Ketchup-Face series , Vol. 2

Stinkbomb and little sister Ketchup-Face return in another storm of absurdity in Dougherty’s second installment (Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face and the Badness of Badgers, 2017).

Picking up where the first adventure on the island of Great Kerfuffle left off, this sequel finds the bad badgers back on the loose after their cunning use of a Monopoly “Get Out of Jail Free” card, and King Toothbrush Weasel again asks white siblings Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face to capture the villains. The siblings seek the story expertise of a Ninja Librarian, who explains that to stop the badgers from doing evil things they must find the Magic Porcupine of Stupidity. After enduring a bus ride, a song about libraries, raccoons that are probably badgers, a banana-loving shark, an impressive diversity of typefaces, excessively long traffic lights, and a porcupine that is possibly magical but definitely a rabbit, Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face use their mastery of story nonsense and a handy “Go Directly to Jail” card to save the day. If it’s possible, this book is even more self-aware than its predecessor, and the characters actually get a bit mired in the metanarrative. But despite such dubious elements as a masked Ninja Librarian whose cat’s-eye glasses might be read as an analog for stereotypical slanted eyes or narrative absurdity that goes a little too far into tedium, Dougherty’s rollicking sendup and Ricks’ accompanying spot art continue to amuse.

A second round of hilarity. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-99665-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.

THE BAD GUYS

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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Another uproarious romp that explores what it is to be good as well as do good.

THE BAD GUYS IN MISSION UNPLUCKABLE

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 2

The foursome of reformed villains returns with a new mission and new team member in a continued effort to repair their reputations in Blabey's (The Bad Guys, 2017) rollicking sequel.

This second installment opens with our would-be heroes, Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Shark, and Mr. Piranha, fresh from their bold liberation of the local pound, finding that the media is not spinning in their favor. Accused of terrorizing rather than rescuing, the group (at least Mr. Wolf) refuses to admit defeat—"We're the GOOD GUYS here!"—and begins planning a new mission to free innocent chickens from their deplorable confinement in the Sunnyside Chicken Farm. But if the team can't work together—something all the more difficult with the team a little panicked by the addition of Legs (a friendly, tech-genius tarantula) and one of the group suspiciously excited to greet the chickens—a rescue mission may be all but impossible. Despite some language devaluing of mental diversity (“freak out,” “loco,” etc.) that may turn some readers off, Blabey once again deploys moral ambiguity to overall success, challenging fear as a justification for prejudice and mistakes as reasons to give up. The narrative has lost no comic momentum from first to second book, juxtaposing classic riffs on Mission Impossible and new visual gags unique to these delightfully wry characters.

Another uproarious romp that explores what it is to be good as well as do good. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91241-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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