A well-balanced mix of sci-fi, horror, and humor

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APOCALYPSE TACO

While on a food run, 11-year-old twins Axl and Ivan find themselves in an apocalyptic world run by hives of replicator bees.

When their mother sends them on a post-midnight snack run to feed the hungry middle school theater crew preparing for the next day’s dress rehearsal of Brigadoon, Axl and Ivan aren’t too excited to go to McDonald’s, as they believe it is not Scottish enough. However, they depart from the theme even further when they are forced to settle for tacos since the Taco Bear drive-thru is the only place they find open. Soon, they realize the tacos are more alive than they hoped and find themselves in a reality with the same consistency as a tub of nacho cheese. When they encounter Wendy, a library school student who initially has the form of a tangled mass of arms, they learn that in an attempt to solve world hunger, one of her bioengineer roommates created replicator bees that have made the world their hive, from which the gang must escape with the help of a windshield scraper. Hale positively revels in the weirdness of his premise. The two-color orange palette he uses adds to the surrealistic feeling of the illustrations, the cheesy ooziness of which could trigger any trypophobic. Axl and Ivan have dark skin, and Wendy presents Asian.

A well-balanced mix of sci-fi, horror, and humor . (Graphic science fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3373-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in...

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NEW KID

From the New Kid series , Vol. 1

Jordan Banks takes readers down the rabbit hole and into his mostly white prep school in this heartbreakingly accurate middle-grade tale of race, class, microaggressions, and the quest for self-identity.

He may be the new kid, but as an African-American boy from Washington Heights, that stigma entails so much more than getting lost on the way to homeroom. Riverdale Academy Day School, located at the opposite end of Manhattan, is a world away, and Jordan finds himself a stranger in a foreign land, where pink clothing is called salmon, white administrators mistake a veteran African-American teacher for the football coach, and white classmates ape African-American Vernacular English to make themselves sound cool. Jordan’s a gifted artist, and his drawings blend with the narrative to give readers a full sense of his two worlds and his methods of coping with existing in between. Craft skillfully employs the graphic-novel format to its full advantage, giving his readers a delightful and authentic cast of characters who, along with New York itself, pop off the page with vibrancy and nuance. Shrinking Jordan to ant-sized proportions upon his entering the school cafeteria, for instance, transforms the lunchroom into a grotesque Wonderland in which his lack of social standing becomes visually arresting and viscerally uncomfortable.

An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in America. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-269120-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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DRAMA

From award winner Telgemeier (Smile, 2010), a pitch-perfect graphic novel portrayal of a middle school musical, adroitly capturing the drama both on and offstage.

Seventh-grader Callie Marin is over-the-moon to be on stage crew again this year for Eucalyptus Middle School’s production of Moon over Mississippi. Callie's just getting over popular baseball jock and eighth-grader Greg, who crushed her when he left Callie to return to his girlfriend, Bonnie, the stuck-up star of the play. Callie's healing heart is quickly captured by Justin and Jesse Mendocino, the two very cute twins who are working on the play with her. Equally determined to make the best sets possible with a shoestring budget and to get one of the Mendocino boys to notice her, the immensely likable Callie will find this to be an extremely drama-filled experience indeed. The palpably engaging and whip-smart characterization ensures that the charisma and camaraderie run high among those working on the production. When Greg snubs Callie in the halls and misses her reference to Guys and Dolls, one of her friends assuredly tells her, "Don't worry, Cal. We’re the cool kids….He's the dork." With the clear, stylish art, the strongly appealing characters and just the right pinch of drama, this book will undoubtedly make readers stand up and cheer.

Brava!  (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-32698-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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