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KITTEN TROUBLE

Foolish feline fun conceals a lesson about xenophobia, helping middle graders absorb it.

Kitty’s humans foster displaced kittens…a recipe for kitty conflict!

In the midst of Bad Kitty’s ongoing dust-up with the paper carrier (who routinely aims for Kitty’s head when he tosses the paper), Bad Kitty’s humans take in some unfamiliar kittens from a conflicted neighborhood nearby. Kitty’s having none of it—after all, Kitty doesn’t share (Uncle Murray here breaks in with series-trademark Fun Facts about feline territoriality). After Kitty shows her characteristic hostility to the refugees, her humans call Uncle Murray to come over to school Kitty in how to be nicer…but Kitty has so traumatized Murray in the past, he agrees that the kittens present a danger—they will grow up to become cats, after all. After a bad dream and time to reflect, Uncle Murray and Kitty come around and apologize to the kittens for their prejudice…and Kitty uses what she’s learned to befriend the paper carrier. As with other recent volumes in his popular series, Bruel uses goofy humor and his curmudgeonly cat character to take on a weighty issue. While Uncle Murray’s Fun Fact segments offer practical advice on introducing new cats to existing cats, Bad Kitty’s tale counsels tolerance and empathy when dealing with others.

Foolish feline fun conceals a lesson about xenophobia, helping middle graders absorb it. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 7-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-18208-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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THE BAD GUYS

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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THE FIRST CAT IN SPACE ATE PIZZA

From the First Cat in Space series , Vol. 1

Epic lunacy.

Will extragalactic rats eat the moon?

Can a cybernetic toenail clipper find a worthy purpose in the vast universe? Will the first feline astronaut ever get a slice of pizza? Read on. Reworked from the Live Cartoon series of homespun video shorts released on Instagram in 2020 but retaining that “we’re making this up as we go” quality, the episodic tale begins with the electrifying discovery that our moon is being nibbled away. Off blast one strong, silent, furry hero—“Meow”—and a stowaway robot to our nearest celestial neighbor to hook up with the imperious Queen of the Moon and head toward the dark side, past challenges from pirates on the Sea of Tranquility and a sphinx with a riddle (“It weighs a ton, but floats on air. / It’s bald but has a lot of hair.” The answer? “Meow”). They endure multiple close but frustratingly glancing encounters with pizza and finally deliver the malign, multiheaded Rat King and its toothy armies to a suitable fate. Cue the massive pizza party! Aside from one pirate captain and a general back on Earth, the human and humanoid cast in Harris’ loosely drawn cartoon panels, from the appropriately moon-faced queen on, is light skinned. Merch, music, and the original episodes are available on an associated website.

Epic lunacy. (Graphic science fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-308408-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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