There’s room for improvement in Augusta’s latest caper, but these dogs have so much fun readers will still howl for more.

GOOD PIRATE

A plunderin’, pillagin’ pup takes down some pretty paw-some pirates.

Having already proved herself to be saucy, bold, and selfless in her previous adventure (Bad Pirate, 2015), sea pup Augusta Garrick now faces an even bigger challenge. Her father, Capt. Barnacle Garrick, has discovered his booty has been plundered by a pack of mangy sea cats. To recover the treasure undetected, the captain advises everyone to be “rotten,” “sneaky,” and “brainy.” Trouble is, Augusta has a penchant for “fancies,” and her accessorizing does not sit well with her pa. A little dab of vanilla proves her undoing, and she’s thrown in the brig to avoid botching a raid with her scent. Fortunately, brains, sneakiness, and the rotten smell of fanciness save her crewmates from those tricky kitties. Though this sequel lacks the coherency of its predecessor (how Augusta gets the key to spring her shipmates and herself from the brig is left unclear), once again it’s a jolly relief to see a female pirate with so much oomph and initiative. As ever, Griffiths’ art proves inventive, whether he’s rendering a seagoing whippet or a beard on the feline Capt. Fishmonger that Blackbeard himself would envy.

There’s room for improvement in Augusta’s latest caper, but these dogs have so much fun readers will still howl for more. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-927485-80-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Only for dedicated fans of the series.

HOW TO CATCH A MONSTER

From the How To Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Chilling in the best ways.

CREEPY CRAYON!

From the Creepy Tales! series

When a young rabbit who’s struggling in school finds a helpful crayon, everything is suddenly perfect—until it isn’t.

Jasper is flunking everything except art and is desperate for help when he finds the crayon. “Purple. Pointy…perfect”—and alive. When Jasper watches TV instead of studying, he misspells every word on his spelling test, but the crayon seems to know the answers, and when he uses the crayon to write, he can spell them all. When he faces a math quiz after skipping his homework, the crayon aces it for him. Jasper is only a little creeped out until the crayon changes his art—the one area where Jasper excels—into something better. As guilt-ridden Jasper receives accolade after accolade for grades and work that aren’t his, the crayon becomes more and more possessive of Jasper’s attention and affection, and it is only when Jasper cannot take it anymore that he discovers just what he’s gotten himself into. Reynolds’ text might as well be a Rod Serling monologue for its perfectly paced foreboding and unsettling tension, both gentled by lightly ominous humor. Brown goes all in to match with a grayscale palette for everything but the purple crayon—a callback to black-and-white sci-fi thrillers as much as a visual cue for nascent horror readers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Chilling in the best ways. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6588-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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