From the Fangbone series , Vol. 1

The expected blend of boogers, barbarian battles and beanballs may hold some appeal for young boys seeking hijinks over...

A lackluster graphic-novel offering for the young-male reading set, full of gross-outs, slapstick humor and out-of-this world adventures.

In the far-away world of Skullbania, fledgling barbarian Fangbone has to suffer the injustices of being little: He gets no respect, no one listens to him and the elders mock him with humiliating requests (“Pick the spider eggs out of my armpit!”). When he volunteers to guard the Big Toe of the detested overlord Drool, he is sent with it to the safety of our world by a powerful Skullbanian sorcerer. Fangbone ends up in class 3G, an unfortunate and uncoordinated motley crew who desperately needs help to win their upcoming beanball tournament (it's “like dodgeball, but the balls are smaller and you throw harder”). Fangbone—who has a wickedly advantageous barbarian throwing arm—needs an army, and the two groups find each other to be extremely beneficial. The illustrations are done in a drab yellow and gray palette and wind their jaundiced way through this predictable plot distinguished by expected formulaic silliness. This series opener offers little novelty—readers will have seen similar tropes explored in Captain Underpants or Jarrett Krosoczka’s Lunch Lady series.

The expected blend of boogers, barbarian battles and beanballs may hold some appeal for young boys seeking hijinks over highbrow literature. (Graphic fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-25521-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Dec. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011


An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel.

Sandy and his family, Japanese Canadians, experience hatred and incarceration during World War II.

Sandy Saito loves baseball, and the Vancouver Asahi ballplayers are his heroes. But when they lose in the 1941 semifinals, Sandy’s dad calls it a bad omen. Sure enough, in December 1941, Japan bombs Pearl Harbor in the U.S. The Canadian government begins to ban Japanese people from certain areas, moving them to “dormitories” and setting a curfew. Sandy wants to spend time with his father, but as a doctor, his dad is busy, often sneaking out past curfew to work. One night Papa is taken to “where he [is] needed most,” and the family is forced into an internment camp. Life at the camp isn’t easy, and even with some of the Asahi players playing ball there, it just isn’t the same. Trying to understand and find joy again, Sandy struggles with his new reality and relationship with his father. Based on the true experiences of Japanese Canadians and the Vancouver Asahi team, this graphic novel is a glimpse of how their lives were affected by WWII. The end is a bit abrupt, but it’s still an inspiring and sweet look at how baseball helped them through hardship. The illustrations are all in a sepia tone, giving it an antique look and conveying the emotions and struggles. None of the illustrations of their experiences are overly graphic, making it a good introduction to this upsetting topic for middle-grade readers.

An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel. (afterword, further resources) (Graphic historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0334-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021


From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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