Quietly thoughtful and emotionally on-point


From the Game for Adventure series

A wordless graphic offering conveys the fun and frustration of playing with friends.

In a bright, sunny room, white, carrot-topped Andrew draws a picture of his favorite three-horned purple monster. Suddenly, Andrew senses a presence at the window and discovers his purple friend peeking in at him. Quick as a flash, the young hero grabs his pith helmet and butterfly net, and the chase is on throughout an unthreatening, earth-toned forest. However, the violet creature continually manages to elude Andrew, and the boy’s frustration mounts until, in a moment of palpable vexation, he throws down his gear, ends the game, and storms off back home. After a good night of sleep and some time to ruminate, will Andrew take up the chase again, or will his emotions get the better of him? Nordling and Roberts’ take on childhood frustration is adroitly captured through big, clean, vibrant panels. The friendly-looking monster seems to enjoy the chase but doesn’t understand that he’s angering his friend. Andrew’s irritation at constantly being outwitted nearly vibrates off the pages, and watching his emotions cycle from angry back to calm should certainly resonate with younger readers. Andrew will appear in sequels featuring team games, though not as the main character.

Quietly thoughtful and emotionally on-point . (Graphic adventure. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-1330-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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Another sweet, empathetic day with Benny and Penny.


From the Benny and Penny series , Vol. 6

The sixth title in the Benny and Penny graphic early reader series captures children's transitory emotions with quiet, forgiving humor.

When Benny and Penny find a dead salamander, Penny names it Little Red and insists on a burial, while Benny thinks it's gross. The siblings' contrasting reactions continue throughout the tale. Their “grief” is just as transitory and matter-of-fact as that of the children in Margaret Wise Brown’s The Dead Bird (re-issued with new illustrations by Christian Robinson in 2016), though the comic-book format and Hayes' age-appropriate humor update the story. (Benny, hiding behind a bush, sneezes, causing Penny and her mole friend Melina to check the corpse for signs of life.) Although Penny responds in stereotypical girl fashion, bringing flowers for the grave, Benny expresses emotions too. When they find a living salamander, Benny thinks it's Little Red's ghost, while Penny decides it's Red's sister and names it Paula. Speech bubbles used to tell the story guide readers through the pages, while warm, friendly illustrations reminiscent of another classic, Beatrix Potter, provide detail and humor for new readers to study. Death is an odd subject for a comic for young children, but Hayes handles it well. For newly independent readers, this is an alternative to—not a replacement for—Brown’s classic.

Another sweet, empathetic day with Benny and Penny. (Graphic early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-935179-99-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: TOON Books & Graphics

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Whether newbies to Indian mythology or longtime Amar Chitra Katha aficionados, readers are sure to be entertained by these...



From the Campfire Junior series

Lovably mischievous Ganesha figures out how to win a race and get his belly full of yummy rice in modern interpretations of two favorite Indian stories about the childhood of the elephant-headed god.

When Ganesha is challenged by his godly parents to race his superfast brother around the world to win a magic apple, his lumbering pace and portly form make him rethink the meaning of what is most important to him in the whole world. In another story, Ganesha’s boundless appetite causes great consternation to his host, the proud king Kubera, who must learn the secret to satisfying this young god. Told in hilarious rhyming couplets (“I am hungry, can’t you see? / You will have to get more food for me”) and illustrated playfully, this brief graphic novel ably introduces kids to the wise, exuberant child Ganesha. While most of the characters are drawn with cartoony panache and humor, the notable exception is a rather Caucasian-looking goddess Parvati, whose face is stuck in a constantly downcast direction—a puzzling choice for depicting the only female character. Despite this and some forced rhymes, on the whole Dutta and Nagulakonda leave readers happy and wanting more—which is on the way, if the last line, “Not the End,” is to be trusted.

Whether newbies to Indian mythology or longtime Amar Chitra Katha aficionados, readers are sure to be entertained by these fresh interpretations of ancient Indian tales. (Graphic novel. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-93-81182-10-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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