Just different enough from the others in the genre to be a welcome addition.



From the Marty Pants series , Vol. 1

Not all philistines are aliens, but Marty is pretty sure at least one of them is.

Marty Pants is an artist—has been since birth—and he always wears black. However, his teacher, Mr. McPhee, tries to discourage Marty’s artistic tendencies, especially when Marty submits self-drawn comics in lieu of factual essays for assignments. When Marty finds a note saying “AN ALIEN IS OBSERVING YOU,” Marty seeks the advice of his friend Parker. She tells him to stop watching so many alien movies. When Marty finds a folder on Mr. McPhee’s computer marked with the titular instruction, he of course disobeys and spots the word “annihilate.” Of course: McPhee is an alien bent on planetary destruction. Marty must save the world while dodging bullies and avoiding his perfect older sister, Erica (who “changes the spelling [of her name] almost as often as she changes her mood,” which makes for an amusing running gag). However, Marty keeps ending up in embarrassing situations…all while being observed by the quiet new girl, Analie. Can Marty save the world? Off the Mark cartoonist Parisi’s prose-and-cartoon series kickoff is a winner. Clueless, conclusion-jumping, creative kid Marty’s artistic streak and an unexpected twist make this stand out. All the characters are paper white, but Parker’s exuberantly kinky black hair may allow some readers to see in her a child of color.

Just different enough from the others in the genre to be a welcome addition. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 7-11)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-242776-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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In all, it's an unsuccessful follow-up to Weeks' Pie (2011), but word-loving Melody is appealing, and her appended list of...


Melody Bishop's peaceful life with her widower father is upset when the annoying 6-year-old next door comes home from the beauty parlor with some gossip.

The 10-year-old has already noticed her father's increased distraction and a new tendency to whistle, so when Teeny Nelson reports that "Henry's been bitten by the love bug," Melody is avid to know more. With her best friend, biracial Nick Woo, at her side, she goes to the Bee Hive beauty salon to investigate. What she discovers there rocks her world not once but twice, as salon owner Bee-Bee has information about Melody's mother, who died in childbirth and about whom her father never speaks. Weeks gets the small moments right: Melody's exasperation with Teeny and the way it turns to sympathy when the little girl's mother threatens a spanking; her affectionate resignation when her grandfather, who has emphysema, sneaks out to the garage for a smoke. And Melody's close relationship with her loving father is sweetly evoked. But other elements fail to cohere. Obvious misdirection leads Melody to a critical misunderstanding that never amounts to more than a plot contrivance, and the mystical visions of Bee-Bee's dog, Mo, who has an unknown connection to Melody, strain credulity.

In all, it's an unsuccessful follow-up to Weeks' Pie (2011), but word-loving Melody is appealing, and her appended list of nail-polish colors is somewhat amusing. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-46557-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Every girl should be so lucky as to have such a papi.


A screaming, bright-blue comet zooms through the streets of Corona, California, in a race against the orange setting sun.

A unicorn-decorated purple helmet can’t hide the grin of the young girl tightly gripping the waist of her carpenter father, who’s hunched over his blazing motorcycle as a comet tail of sawdust streams behind them. Basking in her father’s wordless expression of love, she watches the flash of colors zip by as familiar landmarks blend into one another. Changes loom all around them, from the abandoned raspado (snow cone) shop to the housing construction displacing old citrus groves. Yet love fills in the spaces between nostalgia and the daily excitement of a rich life shared with neighbors and family. Quintero’s homage to her papi and her hometown creates a vivid landscape that weaves in and out of her little-girl memory, jarring somewhat as it intersects with adult recollections. At the end, her family buys raspados from a handcart—are the vendor and defunct shop’s owner one and the same? Peña’s comic-book–style illustrations capture cultural-insider Mexican-American references, such as a book from Cathy Camper and Raúl the Third’s Lowrider series and the Indigenous jaguar mask on the protagonist’s brother’s T-shirt. Dialogue in speech bubbles incorporates both Spanish and English, and the gist of the conversation is easily followed; a fully Spanish edition releases simultaneously.

Every girl should be so lucky as to have such a papi. (Picture book. 7-11)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55341-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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