Frenetic as the story is, it’s hard not to love a novel that borrows equally from Calvin and Hobbes and The Usual Suspects....

READ REVIEW

FORTUNATELY, THE MILK

Publishers used to say, “If you read only one book this year, make it this one.” Gaiman has tried to write the only book anyone will need, ever, packing into it every adventure story written in the past 300 years.

The book seems to include every plot on TVTropes.org. There’s a time machine. There are “wumpires” and pirates. The story is simple: A father goes to the store to buy milk. The only trouble is, he’s kidnapped by aliens, and by the end of the book, he’s being threatened by dancing dwarfs. Sometimes the book feels like a personal bet between the writer and the illustrator: “But can you draw this?” Young is always up to the challenge, no matter what gets thrown at him. He makes pirates look both dangerous and adorable. But once in a while, readers may wish that the author would stop throwing things. The best scene in the book is brief and quiet. The father asks a time-traveling stegosaurus where all the dinosaurs went. “The stars,” professor Steg says. “That is where we will have gone.”

Frenetic as the story is, it’s hard not to love a novel that borrows equally from Calvin and Hobbes and The Usual Suspects. If you read only one book this year, a story with dancing dwarfs is always a wise choice. (Adventure. 8-12) . If you read only one book this year, a story with dancing dwarfs is always a wise choice(Adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-222407-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

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

Did you like this book?

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

GHOSTS

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more