Solid science-based adventure.



Pond dwellers beware! Mr. Big’s on the prowl.

Spring begins the cycle of life that continues night and day in the pond. Small creatures are born, and some fall prey to Mr. Big, a large common snapping turtle. The fish and frogs tire of losing friends and family to the predations of Mr. Big, so they ask the crows to get rid of him. The crayfish warn that there's a natural order; if the crows succeed, something worse may come along to take Mr. Big's place. Even before the crows agree to help, rumors of a giant predator fish begin to circulate. Is the fearsome fish real? Will it fight Mr. Big? Will the crows try to take over? Only Nature knows. The Dembickis, a husband-and-wife team, craft a graphic novel grounded in the natural world that explains the food chain and pond ecosystems on a middle-grade level with a minimum of anthropomorphism. They successfully tackle the concepts of invasive species (the big fish is an Asian snakehead) and West Nile virus. With a mix of full-bleed, captioned pages and splashy graphic panels rendered in vibrant natural colors, the struggle against Mr. Big will hold attention while sneakily imparting a science lesson or two.

Solid science-based adventure.   (foreword, introduction, afterword) (Graphic fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61608-967-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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Silly and inventive fast-paced fun

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From the InvestiGators series , Vol. 1

A zippy graphic-novel series opener featuring two comically bumbling reptile detectives.

As agents of SUIT (Special Undercover Investigation Team) with customized VESTs (Very Exciting Spy Technology) boasting the latest gadgetry, the bright green InvestiGators Mango and Brash receive their newest assignment. The reptilian duo must go undercover at the Batter Down bakery to find missing mustachioed Chef Gustavo and his secret recipes. Before long, the pair find themselves embroiled in a strange and busy plot with a scientist chicken, a rabid were-helicopter, an escape-artist dinosaur, and radioactive cracker dough. Despite the great number of disparate threads, Green manages to tie up most neatly, leaving just enough intrigue for subsequent adventures. Nearly every panel has a joke, including puns (“gator done!”), poop jokes, and pop-culture references (eagle-eyed older readers will certainly pick up on the 1980s song references), promising to make even the most stone-faced readers dissolve into giggles. Green’s art is as vibrant as an overturned box of crayons and as highly spirited as a Saturday-morning cartoon. Fast pacing and imaginative plotting (smattered with an explosion here, a dance number there) propel the action through a whimsical world in which a diverse cast of humans live alongside anthropomorphized reptiles and dinosaurs. With its rampant good-natured goofiness and its unrelenting fizz and pep, this feels like a sugar rush manifested as a graphic novel.

Silly and inventive fast-paced fun . (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21995-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A pleasantly quiet exploration of friends, fitting in, and finding one’s own way.


From the Click series , Vol. 1

Sometimes you can feel lonely without being alone.

When a talent show is announced to Olive’s fifth-grade class, everyone is excited. Olive has lots of friends and moves seamlessly among different peer groups that include karate-loving boys, a cheer-obsessed trio of girls, and a pair of friends who are aspiring magicians. No one, however, has invited Olive to join their group for the talent show, and her confidence wanes. While her friends are not actively excluding her, she suddenly feels adrift without a clique of her own. A weekend with her funky, green-haired aunt helps Olive decide that she will have her own act, without a group behind her. A bit apprehensive, she announces her decision and discovers that not only have things worked out well, but that she has gained a new measure of self-confidence. This bright and friendly graphic novel is rendered with pleasing, pastel-toned illustrations reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier’s art and should appeal to a similar audience. While many offerings have delved into mean-girl middle school culture or finding acceptance, Miller’s examination takes a more introspective approach with its female protagonist who ultimately determines that she can find happiness both within herself and in her different groups of friends. Main character Olive presents white, while many of her friends, both male and female, are people of color.

A pleasantly quiet exploration of friends, fitting in, and finding one’s own way. (Graphic fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-70735-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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