Clever, fast-paced, and altogether great fun.

THE KING OF KAZOO

A king, his daughter, and their royal inventor set out on an epic quest to locate a mysterious tunnel in a faraway mountain.

King Cornelius, a rabbitlike, frivolous halfwit, can't figure out what his legacy will be to his subjects. He lives in his castle with his daughter, Bing, a talented magician who's often accompanied by her familiar, a bluebird named Gypsy. When Gypsy alerts Bing to a strange tunnel that appears suddenly at the top of Mount Kazoo, the father and daughter—along with the mute royal inventor, Torq—embark on a dangerous journey to unearth the truth. Along the way, their expedition is fraught with peril, including run-ins with armed amphibians, zombified villagers, and a vindictive alchemist. With his inflated ego, Cornelius may be his own worst adversary, and without the quick thinking of Bing and mechanical ingenuity of Torq, he would certainly fail. Feuti's steampunk-with-a-medieval-twist worldbuilding is both exciting and imaginative without being jarring or anachronistic. The dynamics between hapless Cornelius and the clever-yet-often-overlooked Bing are exceptionally well-wrought and offer an artful feminist message. The clean lines and character stylizations are reminiscent of Jeff Smith’s Bone series and will certainly appeal to a similar audience. Though this volume provides closure, expect an outcry for more adventures in this intriguing world.

Clever, fast-paced, and altogether great fun. (Graphic adventure. 7-12)

Pub Date: July 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-77088-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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What a wag.

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DOG MAN

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 1

What do you get from sewing the head of a smart dog onto the body of a tough police officer? A new superhero from the incorrigible creator of Captain Underpants.

Finding a stack of old Dog Man comics that got them in trouble back in first grade, George and Harold decide to craft a set of new(ish) adventures with (more or less) improved art and spelling. These begin with an origin tale (“A Hero Is Unleashed”), go on to a fiendish attempt to replace the chief of police with a “Robo Chief” and then a temporarily successful scheme to make everyone stupid by erasing all the words from every book (“Book ’Em, Dog Man”), and finish off with a sort of attempted alien invasion evocatively titled “Weenie Wars: The Franks Awaken.” In each, Dog Man squares off against baddies (including superinventor/archnemesis Petey the cat) and saves the day with a clever notion. With occasional pauses for Flip-O-Rama featurettes, the tales are all framed in brightly colored sequential panels with hand-lettered dialogue (“How do you feel, old friend?” “Ruff!”) and narrative. The figures are studiously diverse, with police officers of both genders on view and George, the chief, and several other members of the supporting cast colored in various shades of brown. Pilkey closes as customary with drawing exercises, plus a promise that the canine crusader will be further unleashed in a sequel.

What a wag. (Graphic fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-58160-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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A witty addition to the long-running series.

THE DEEP END

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 15

The Wimpy Kid hits the road.

The Heffley clan has been stuck living together in Gramma’s basement for two months, waiting for the family home to be repaired, and the constant togetherness has been getting on everybody’s nerves. Luckily Greg’s Uncle Gary has a camper waiting for someone to use it, and so the Heffleys set off on the open road looking for an adventurous vacation, hoping the changing scenery will bring a spark back to the family unit. The winding road leads the Heffleys to a sprawling RV park, a setting teeming with possibilities for Greg to get up to his usual shenanigans. Greg’s snarky asides and misadventures continue to entertain. At this point the Wimpy Kid books run like a well-oiled machine, paced perfectly with witty lines, smart gags, and charming cartoons. Kinney knows just where to put a joke, the precise moment to give a character shading, and exactly how to get the narrative rolling, spinning out the oddest plot developments. The appreciation Kinney has for these characters seeps through the novels, endearing the Heffleys to readers even through this title, the 15th installment in a franchise boasting spinoffs, movies, and merchandise. There may come a time when Greg and his family overstay their welcome, but thankfully that day still seems far off.

A witty addition to the long-running series. (Humor. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4868-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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