A droll, rather sweet addition to the flood of “I want my hat back” tales.

READ REVIEW

CAPTAIN BARBOSA AND THE PIRATE HAT CHASE

When a sea gull snatches his hat, a pirate sets out to get it back.

A stern chase is a long chase, as this wordless import (from Spain) demonstrates. Enraged by the theft of his skull-and-crossbones hat, the captain charges off in a ship crewed by an elephant, a crocodile, and a mosquito. Various adventures later, from a storm to an encounter with a huge, green, one-eyed sea monster, the pursuers catch up at last—only to find the hat repurposed into a nursery. Fans of Jon Klassen’s hat dramas may be disappointed by what happens next: The captain shrugs, hugs the provident parent, and departs with a friendly wave. The white captain’s massive orange beard shines out from González’s loosely drawn and brushed nautical scenes; with that to focus on, even younger viewers should have no trouble sailing through the sequential panels. That the sea monster is entirely benign and even helpful also adds to the story’s friendliness to the younger edge of the audience range. Humor abounds, from the absurd casting choices for Barbosa’s crew to the moment when the chortling mariners add an orange pigtailed wig to the captain’s exposed, bald pate.

A droll, rather sweet addition to the flood of “I want my hat back” tales. (Graphic adventure. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-4154-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Take strength from the dreamers before you and follow your dreams. Or maybe just roll the dice.

LITTLE JOE CHICKAPIG

Is it a book about aspirations or the backstory for the board game?

Chickapig is defined as “an animal hybrid that is half-chicken and half-pig” and is depicted in yellow, two-legged chick shape with pink pig snout and ears. Young Joe Chickapig lives on a farm that was his grandfather’s dream, but it’s getting Joe down. He dreams of adventure but needs the “courage to follow his heart. / But how could he do it? How could he start?” In a bedtime story, Joe’s mother shares the influential characters that helped Joe’s sailor grandfather “follow his heart against the tide.” It seems that “Grandpa had heard a story told / Of a great big bear who broke the mold. / The bear was tired of striking fear”—so he became a forest doctor and a friend to all. And the bear’s inspiration? “A mouse who went to space.” The mouse, in turn, found hope in a “fierce young dragon” who joined a rock band. And coming full circle, the dragon found courage from a Chickapig warrior who “tired of shields and swords to wield” and established a farm. Chickapig game fans will appreciate this fanciful rhyming tale illustrated in attention-grabbing colors, but readers coming to it cold will note a distinct absence of plot. Mouse and dragon present female; all others are male.

Take strength from the dreamers before you and follow your dreams. Or maybe just roll the dice. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7944-4452-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Printers Row

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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A sweet introduction to sequential art.

BLIP!

What happens if your spaceship crash-lands on an alien planet and your vocabulary happens to be very limited?

A cute-looking, backpack-carrying robot in stylish red boots finds itself stuck on an alien planet when a “Bang! Bang! / Bang! Bang!” sends it scurrying. The story that ensues is told in a simplified comic-book format of one or two panels per page and the occasional double-page spread. The little robot has a vocabulary that consists mainly of one word: “Blip.” Uttered as a statement, a question, or an exclamation, the word is always in a speech bubble, as the form dictates. As the robot wanders along using its one word with the creatures it encounters, it finds itself in all sorts of situations, from the scary to the bewildering. Richards’ dynamic page composition will keep readers engaged, and his very expressive little robot will keep them rooting for a happy ending. Along the way readers will find plenty of details to catch their eyes. Not everything is as it looks. In the end the robot returns to its ship only to find a skirt-wearing robot in stylish orange boots busily fixing its own ship. The happiness they both experience upon finding another of their own kind is expressed in one big and satisfying mutual “BLIP!” While kids won’t pick up much vocabulary, it’s hard to imagine a better lesson in how to read the format.

A sweet introduction to sequential art. (Graphic early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-935179-98-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: TOON Books & Graphics

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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