Underlying messages of environmentalism, friendship, and home make this magical mystery a win.

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SHADOW ISLAND

From the Sueño Bay Adventures series , Vol. 1

Moon Creatures, missteps, and mayhem lead a young boy to find a place to call home in this new graphic-novel series.

Since his parents’ deaths, Ollie has been shuffled among various family members and is now sent to live with his elderly grandfather in the small, fictional town of Sueño Bay, “Home of the Supernatural,” on Robertson Island off the coast of British Columbia. Unhappy with this remote life, he plots leaving the boring town to go back to the mainland. The day before he plans to make his escape, a few of his new classmates pull him into an adventure in which they encounter the Moon Creatures, horned, raccoonlike mammals that are endangered due to environmental factors. In trying to save the sometimes-adorable, sometimes-terrifying creatures, they embark on a perilous journey. Ultimately the story leads to a satisfying ending for all, with Ollie finding a sense of home. Inspired choices in paneling and use of line keep the eyes moving, propelling the story forward while still bringing readers into the fully realized rainy and rural Pacific Northwest setting. Ollie has pink skin and black hair; side characters are interesting and full of personality and have varying racial presentations. There is a refreshing, realistic economic diversity shown, with characters living in houses, trailers, and refurbished school buses.

Underlying messages of environmentalism, friendship, and home make this magical mystery a win. (Graphic fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-14598-1961-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A close encounter of the best kind.

FIELD TRIP TO THE MOON

Left behind when the space bus departs, a child discovers that the moon isn’t as lifeless as it looks.

While the rest of the space-suited class follows the teacher like ducklings, one laggard carrying crayons and a sketchbook sits down to draw our home planet floating overhead, falls asleep, and wakes to see the bus zooming off. The bright yellow bus, the gaggle of playful field-trippers, and even the dull gray boulders strewn over the equally dull gray lunar surface have a rounded solidity suggestive of Plasticine models in Hare’s wordless but cinematic scenes…as do the rubbery, one-eyed, dull gray creatures (think: those stress-busting dolls with ears that pop out when squeezed) that emerge from the regolith. The mutual shock lasts but a moment before the lunarians eagerly grab the proffered crayons to brighten the bland gray setting with silly designs. The creatures dive into the dust when the bus swoops back down but pop up to exchange goodbye waves with the errant child, who turns out to be an olive-skinned kid with a mop of brown hair last seen drawing one of their new friends with the one crayon—gray, of course—left in the box. Body language is expressive enough in this debut outing to make a verbal narrative superfluous.

A close encounter of the best kind. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4253-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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A welcome addition to shelves of graphic novels for new readers

PEACE AND QUIET

From the Mr. Badger and Mrs. Fox series , Vol. 4

A blended family of badgers and foxes make the best of close quarters in this wintertime story.

Mr. Badger and his three kits, Bristle, Berry and Grub, along with Mrs. Fox and her pup, Ginger, are hunkering down for a long winter together in this early-reader book that makes great use of comic conventions. Panel illustrations show the family gathering materials to make their shared den nice and cozy, while also discussing their differing wintertime behaviors: The badgers don’t hibernate, but they do sleep an awful lot to preserve their energy, and they rely on fat reserves to stay warm throughout the season, while the foxes grow thick winter coats and plan to hunt in the snowy forest. At first, the little ones have a hard time understanding these differences, and a dose of cabin fever makes the living situation rather fraught. Happily, the parents step in to ease tensions and to help their children make the most of the season and of their relationships with one another. Speech balloons, endearing illustrations of the characters, well-paced panels and lots of action from scene to scene will keep young readers invested in this story, particularly if they are already familiar with the previous titles in the series.

A welcome addition to shelves of graphic novels for new readers . (Graphic animal fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8225-9163-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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