For readers who appreciate the goofy.

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TWO DOGS IN A TRENCH COAT GO TO SCHOOL

From the Two Dogs in a Trench Coat series , Vol. 1

Giggle-inducing shenanigans ensue when two loyal dogs hatch a plan to save their human boy from school.

Waldo loves food, Sassy loves naps, and they both love Stewart and want to rescue him from that horrible, boring place called school, which makes Stewart smell like “a weird mixture of boredom and anxiety.” The intrepid pooches commence with an operation they code name Pepperoni. Under the titular trench coat, they disguise themselves as a human to infiltrate Bea Arthur Memorial Elementary School. Bulldog Sassy forms the bottom half, while terrier Waldo, who can speak Human, stands on her shoulders. As new student Salty Woofadogington from Liver, Ohio, the dogs discover that school is great: They get to eat sloppy Joes, play Frisbee, and sing (read: howl) in music class. They fool everyone except Stewart, who’s lucky Waldo and Sassy love school; he doesn’t even have a topic for a project that’s due tomorrow. Waldo and Sassy fly into action. They have the perfect subject: squirrels—dogs are squirrel experts, after all. The boisterous third-person narration plays with typography: All the dogs’ favorite foods (just about every possible comestible, including carrots) are in bold text, while Waldo’s dialogue as Salty is in a faux typewritten face. The tale is further enlivened by the cartoonish black-and-white illustrations, which depict Stewart with paper-white skin, but some secondary characters have dark skin, notably Salty’s teacher, Ms. Twohey, who is not entirely convinced by her new student.

For readers who appreciate the goofy. (Fantasy. 7-12)

Pub Date: May 29, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-18951-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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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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