Highly entertaining light fare.


From the Bright Family series , Vol. 1

Two genius children venture into the multiverse hoping to rescue their parents.

Nia Bright, age 12, attends Morton Middle Academy, where she designs robots. Despite this impressive ability, she deems herself the failure of her supergenius family. Her 10-year-old brother, Jayden, has flunked out of several schools because none can challenge his intellect and he uses class time to design giant robots. Both are the adopted children of Banira Suzuki-Bright (the famous adventuring scientist) and Benjamin Bright (the prizewinning inventor); both crave the attention of their superstar parents. When Nia attempts to run away via their father’s dimensional portal, their parents are mistakenly sucked through instead—and both kids then go through to rescue them. While there isn’t much character development on offer, readers may delight in the various adventures the Bright kids experience as they jump their way through the multiverse attempting to rescue their parents. They help creatures and restore balance to worlds—and their family—as they make their way home. By the end of their adventure, all family members just might have a better understanding of one another and their impact on the worlds around them. Simple, realistic renderings with soft, bulbous lines create an upbeat tone, in concert with the energetic color palette and expressive faces. Nia, Jayden, and their father present Black; their mom is cued as Japanese.

Highly entertaining light fare. (Graphic science fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5248-7079-9

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.


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

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. 19, 2019

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Wonderfully weird.


The first third of the ancient epic Beowulf adapted for a young audience.

Long ago, in an unnamed suburb, lived Carl, “detector of gold,” who, with toys and treats, cemented a lasting legacy of childhood revels. As time claimed countless kid-kings, the cardboard crown was passed on. Roger, king of our age, turns his ambitions skyward and constructs Treeheart, a stronghold against such evils as bullies. But the safehouse is besieged by detractors, the worst of them the dreaded Mr. Grindle, a cranky middle-aged man able to condemn kids to the pall of adulthood with a single withering touch. One wild night, Grindle desecrates the hall, heralding an age of silent sorrow. Hope washes in from foreign ’burbs in the form of Bea Wolf, “bride of battle,” with “sixty kids’ strength” in each hand. Will she reclaim Treeheart from Grindle’s fell grasp? Weinersmith’s richly evocative turns of phrase run the gamut from hilarious to heart-rending and maintain the flavor of the original without bogging the pace down amid the kennings. Boulet’s illustrations imbue the shenanigans with gleeful energy and a touch of dark absurdity that children, seeing their own fears and triumphs reflected, will delight in. However tempted time-broken adults might be to scoff at the slapdash magical realism and sympathize with Grindle, doing so in the face of such an unabashedly joyful ode to the freedom of the child’s mind is an impossible task. The cast of characters is diverse.

Wonderfully weird. (note detailing the history of the original and the author’s adaptational techniques, sketchbook) (Graphic novel. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-77629-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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