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THE WOMAN IN THE WOODS

AND OTHER NORTH AMERICAN STORIES

From the Cautionary Fables & Fairytales series

Enjoyable for reading aloud or sharing around a campfire.

Native American and First Nations writers and artists introduce a comics anthology of diverse Indigenous lore passed down through generations.

Representing eight tribes, each offering is this collection is a reimagining of a traditional Indigenous tale. Readers are led on a wild journey through various mythologies, including the Métis narrative of a young boy trapped in the body of a rougarou (werewolf); a Chickasaw pourquoi story featuring an anthropomorphic rabbit trickster; the legend of the Octopus Woman from the S’Kallam tribe; and an Ojibwe story about a girl who encounters a half-lynx, half-dragon underwater being called Mishipeshu while searching for clean water for her people. Some stories are humorous, such as the Navajo-sourced “Into the Darkness,” while others dip into the mystery genre, like “The Woman in the Woods” from the Taino oral tradition. Because of the digestible graphic format, this would be a good introductory text for readers unfamiliar with Native American folklore and culture; meanwhile, Indigenous readers may find the stories from tribes other than their own pleasingly familiar. The black-and-white artwork by multiple artists is enhanced by panels of varying shapes and layouts. The stories are set in both contemporary and historical periods, and some feature two-spirit characters. After reading these diverse stories, young readers might be inspired to create a folklore retelling of their own. Characters are diverse in race, skin tone, age, and gender. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Enjoyable for reading aloud or sharing around a campfire. (Graphic fiction. 8-13)

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-945820-97-7

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Iron Circus Comics

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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WRECKING BALL

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

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

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. 18, 2019

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THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

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  • New York Times Bestseller

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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