With a cameo from Batman himself, this origin story presents an entertaining new team of supers.

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ANTI/HERO

Setting their debut superhero graphic-novel series for kids in the suburbs of East Gotham, Quinn, Lunetta, and Gil introduce readers to an unlikely DC Comics duo.

Sloane MacBrute and Piper Pájaro are both 13 but are otherwise very different from each other. Piper is Latinx, the brown-skinned daughter of scientists working in Antarctica; she lives with Abuela and Uncle John, a police officer. She also has superstrength and can lift a small car. Sloane is white and happens to be the granddaughter of the Bear, the notorious goon; she is also a robotics genius. When her recently laid-off mother’s health declines, Bear dispatches Sloane, as her supervillain alter ego, Gray, to steal a device from a research facility. Piper, who moonlights as the superhero Hummingbird, learns about a threat to the device her parents created, so she shows up to protect it. The late-night mission goes awry, and the device somehow causes both girls to switch bodies, forcing them to work together to switch them back and thwart the Bear. Co-authors Lunetta and Quinn’s quick dialogue, narration, and pacing are successful, and from Abuela, readers hear Spanish peppered throughout the story. Gil’s illustrations are dynamic, filling spreads with noir-toned purple and dark-blue hues. Panels cut from aerial views and zoom into the fast-paced action, building momentum.

With a cameo from Batman himself, this origin story presents an entertaining new team of supers. (Graphic adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4012-9325-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

GHOSTS

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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