From the Olivia Wolf series , Vol. 1

A sweetly scary reminder that friends, even monsters, must look out for each other.

Something strange is afoot in Monstrocity, where monsters and humans live together in harmony…for the most part.

Classes are about to start at Monstrocity Academy. Professor Swamp, the first to arrive, has a horrifying encounter with an off-screen terror. The book’s narrator explains: “It’s best you don’t see what happened to Professor Swamp. It’s far too gruesome….” But it’s a normal morning in the rest of Monstrocity. Olivia Wolf boards the bus for Monstrocity Academy. When a noxious gas beast attacks the city (“These things sometimes happen in Monstrocity”), the young werewolf and her vampire buddy leap into action to save the day. At school, after Olivia’s teacher, a zombie, gives a lecture on mold and decomposition, the students learn that Fred the Fly’s six-month-old cheese sandwich has gone missing. Could the missing professor and the sandwich be related? It turns out they are. Fred’s sandwich, now a giant mold monster, threatens to overrun the city, so the students work together to put things right again. Translated from Spanish, this fast-paced graphic novel features colorful pages with one to four panels; text is minimal. Monstrocity’s monsters are generally smiling and are lovable, relatable, and definitely not scary, and the imaginative dangers they face are slightly spooky, slightly gooey, and just plain fun. A list of character bios prefaces the work.

A sweetly scary reminder that friends, even monsters, must look out for each other. (Graphic fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2023

ISBN: 9788419253552

Page Count: 84

Publisher: NubeOcho

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2023


Lovely and evocative, just the thing to spark an interest in the original and its sequels—and the upcoming film sequel, Mary...

Refined, spit-spot–tidy illustrations infuse a spare adaptation of the 1934 classic with proper senses of decorum and wonder.

Novesky leaves out much—the Bird Woman, Adm. Boom, that ethnically problematic world tour, even Mr. and Mrs. Banks—but there’s still plenty going on. Mary Poppins introduces Jane and Michael (their twin younger sibs are mentioned but seem to be left at home throughout) to the Match-Man and the buoyant Mr. Wigg, lets them watch Mrs. Corry and her daughters climb tall ladders to spangle the night sky with gilt stars, and takes them to meet the zoo animals (“Bird and beast, star and stone—we are all one,” says the philosophical bear). At last, when the wind changes, she leaves them with an “Au revoir!” (“Which means, Dear Reader, ‘to meet again.’ ”) Slender and correct, though with dangling forelocks that echo and suggest the sweeping curls of wind that bring her in and carry her away, Mary Poppins takes the role of impresario in Godbout’s theatrically composed scenes, bearing an enigmatic smile throughout but sharing with Jane and Michael (and even the parrot-headed umbrella) an expression of wide-eyed, alert interest as she shepherds them from one marvelous encounter to the next. The Corrys have brown skin; the rest of the cast presents white.

Lovely and evocative, just the thing to spark an interest in the original and its sequels—and the upcoming film sequel, Mary Poppins Returns, which opens in December 2018. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-328-91677-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018


A close encounter of the best kind.

Left behind when the space bus departs, a child discovers that the moon isn’t as lifeless as it looks.

While the rest of the space-suited class follows the teacher like ducklings, one laggard carrying crayons and a sketchbook sits down to draw our home planet floating overhead, falls asleep, and wakes to see the bus zooming off. The bright yellow bus, the gaggle of playful field-trippers, and even the dull gray boulders strewn over the equally dull gray lunar surface have a rounded solidity suggestive of Plasticine models in Hare’s wordless but cinematic scenes…as do the rubbery, one-eyed, dull gray creatures (think: those stress-busting dolls with ears that pop out when squeezed) that emerge from the regolith. The mutual shock lasts but a moment before the lunarians eagerly grab the proffered crayons to brighten the bland gray setting with silly designs. The creatures dive into the dust when the bus swoops back down but pop up to exchange goodbye waves with the errant child, who turns out to be an olive-skinned kid with a mop of brown hair last seen drawing one of their new friends with the one crayon—gray, of course—left in the box. Body language is expressive enough in this debut outing to make a verbal narrative superfluous.

A close encounter of the best kind. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4253-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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