Grinch-weary readers in particular may be smurfertained.

READ REVIEW

THE SMURFS CHRISTMAS

From the Smurfs series

Six wintry smurfisodes making their first appearances on this side of the Atlantic feature the usual cast of blue-skinned gnomes and their hapless nemesis, Gargamel.

A story of one Christmas Eve that Gargamel nearly ruins by hijacking Santa’s sleigh and another in which he actually receives some gifts bookend the collection. In between, Papa Smurf uses a book of Nostrasmurfus prophecies to trick an illiterate troll; animate snowpeople inadvertently lead Gargamel to the Smurfs’ village but then save it; Lazy Smurf nods off with a hibernating dormouse, both of whom are rescued from a hunter; and Lumberjack Smurf battles a dragon to save an elf who has been turned into a talking Christmas tree. Even young eyes may strain to make out the small, if bright blue, figures and cramped lines of dialogue in the sequential panels. Furthermore, not only does Gargamel come in for a wince-worthy amount of physical and emotional abuse, but Papa Smurf ends up burning his book. Still, the tales have at least nostalgic value, and the plots are not only lickety-split but well-supplied with altered but recognizable holiday songs (“Santa Claus is smurfing to town…”) and other quips.

Grinch-weary readers in particular may be smurfertained. (Graphic stories. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59707-452-0

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Papercutz

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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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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The tiny-type narrative text is hard to make out, but fans of Trondheim’s previous graphic tales will be used to his format.

MONSTER TURKEY

From the Monster series , Vol. 4

Thanks to a flow of toxic waste that turns farm animals into monsters, a family’s rural vacation takes several exciting, if wildly arbitrary turns.

In their fourth outing, Petey, Jean, their parents and their own household monster Kriss arrive as guests at a farm that seems deserted at first but soon coughs up a giant bunny, a T. Rex–sized turkey and other toothy, red-eyed horrors. Joined by the friendly local farmer, himself turned into a sasquatch with mismatched eyes, the family tracks a suspicious pipeline to a factory where the monsters turn out to be a (wait for it) tomato researcher’s experimental subjects. In Trondheim’s small, unbordered cartoon scenes, the lumpy monsters (except for Kriss, who resembles a multilimbed turquoise Barbapapa) look properly menacing. In the end, after much chasing about, they turn out to be not such bad sorts—and though some monsters die in gruesome ways, the overall effect is more comical than disturbing or scary.

The tiny-type narrative text is hard to make out, but fans of Trondheim’s previous graphic tales will be used to his format. (Graphic fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59707-349-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Papercutz

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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