An exuberant, delightful underdog’s tale.


From the Game for Adventure series

Crafty Chavo outsmarts the other team in an otherworldly game of capture the flag.

A group of children gathers in the park as evening falls. The group varies in age and race, and each child holds a flashlight in hand. The team leaders shake hands; now the team selection can begin. One brown-haired, olive-skinned boy, Chavo, can’t wait to be picked, barely containing his glee. As the smallest one in the group, Chavo is chosen last, but he’s just as happy anyway. Each leader hoists their team’s flag, flashlights flick on, and the game begins. Suddenly, the park transforms into a purple, pink, and blue sci-fi landscape, complete with two moons and dangerous wildlife. Both groups huddle up and plot away, and Chavo must go into the alien jungle to hide his team’s flag. But when his entire team rushes into a trap, Chavo finds himself all alone. How will he win the game? Similar to earlier series entries Belinda the Unbeatable and Andrew the Seeker (both 2017), Nordling and Silva’s latest collaboration combines play and imagination in one captivating, clever mishmash of fun. Featuring crisp, clean, and vibrant panels, humorous close-ups, and swift transitions, this wordless graphic novel overflows with delight, anchored by a likable, cunning protagonist. Chavo’s victory is never in doubt, but it’s still great to see the littlest player pull it off against the odds.

An exuberant, delightful underdog’s tale. (Graphic adventure. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-1046-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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What a wag.

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From the Dog Man series , Vol. 1

What do you get from sewing the head of a smart dog onto the body of a tough police officer? A new superhero from the incorrigible creator of Captain Underpants.

Finding a stack of old Dog Man comics that got them in trouble back in first grade, George and Harold decide to craft a set of new(ish) adventures with (more or less) improved art and spelling. These begin with an origin tale (“A Hero Is Unleashed”), go on to a fiendish attempt to replace the chief of police with a “Robo Chief” and then a temporarily successful scheme to make everyone stupid by erasing all the words from every book (“Book ’Em, Dog Man”), and finish off with a sort of attempted alien invasion evocatively titled “Weenie Wars: The Franks Awaken.” In each, Dog Man squares off against baddies (including superinventor/archnemesis Petey the cat) and saves the day with a clever notion. With occasional pauses for Flip-O-Rama featurettes, the tales are all framed in brightly colored sequential panels with hand-lettered dialogue (“How do you feel, old friend?” “Ruff!”) and narrative. The figures are studiously diverse, with police officers of both genders on view and George, the chief, and several other members of the supporting cast colored in various shades of brown. Pilkey closes as customary with drawing exercises, plus a promise that the canine crusader will be further unleashed in a sequel.

What a wag. (Graphic fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-58160-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Two delightfully dense heroes bring folk tales into the 21st century, and young readers are all the richer for it.


Two thickheaded macaroni noodles prove the old adage: a fool and his firewood are soon parted.

Fools have been called “noodleheads” for centuries, but until recently few have represented the term quite so literally. Mac and Mac aren’t the brightest pieces of pasta in the world, but their hearts are in the right place. Here, the two decide to help their mama out by gathering firewood in hopes that she’ll bake them a cake. As they are attempting to cut the very branch they’re sitting on, a passing meatball points out that they are mere minutes away from bruised bottoms. When his words come to pass, our heroes decide the meatball is clairvoyant and demand to know their future. Drawing on and smoothly weaving together a variety of folk tales, the brief graphic novel describes how its obtuse protagonists single-mindedly seek cake, even as they anticipate death, purchase “firewood seeds” (aka acorns), and accidentally dig their mother a garden. Emergent readers will appreciate the simple text, short chapters, and comics-inspired paneled illustrations. Adults will appreciate the authors’ note, which goes into some detail about each chapter’s folk origins.

Two delightfully dense heroes bring folk tales into the 21st century, and young readers are all the richer for it. (Graphic early reader. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3673-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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