A myth involving rampant anthropophagy transformed into a lightly sketched tale of parent-child bonding.

READ REVIEW

THE SHARK KING

The Shark King’s deadly son gets an extreme makeover in this version of a traditional tale from Hawaii.

Born to a loving human woman, Nanaue is a happy child (rather than the flesh-eating monster of yore) with a huge appetite and a jagged line on his back that sometimes opens into a snapping, toothy mouth. His mischievous nature soon leads him into trouble, and he dives off a cliff to escape angry villagers from whom he had been stealing fish. This unites him with his father—a huge shark who had taken human form to marry Nanaue’s mother, Kalei, but returned to the sea on the night of his birth. Johnson presents a quickly told story in bright, fluidly drawn sequential panels of varying size and shape, with a mix of narrative and dialogue. Set against a rocky shoreline and underwater scenes teeming with sea life, his brown-skinned, lightly clad characters gesture and move with smooth naturalism, displaying both distinct personalities and expressions from comical to noble.

A myth involving rampant anthropophagy transformed into a lightly sketched tale of parent-child bonding. (Graphic folktale. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-935179-16-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: TOON/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

What a wag.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

DOG MAN

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This high-wattage debut is a little rough around the edges, but there’s nary a dull moment.

CAT DAD, KING OF THE GOBLINS

A pair of sisters and a froggy sidekick go up against a horde of fungal jungle dwellers in this frantically paced Canadian import.

When Mom transforms Dad into a cat, 10-year-old Luey, her leggy green friend, Phil, and little sister Miri chase him through a closet door and down a jungle path into a maze of tunnels. They manage to rescue their errant parent from the maroon-colored, cat-worshiping goblins that had overrun the garden. (They are not the “mythological” sort, explains Wilson, but sentient mushrooms dressed in towels.) The three put most of their pursuers to flight by rubbing Dad’s fur the wrong way to turn him into a raving, furry maniac (the rest flee at the closet door, screaming “IT’S THE MOM CREATURE! RETREAT!!”). Captured in multiple, sometimes overly small panels of garishly colored cartoon art, the action—not to mention the internal logic—is sometimes hard to follow. Still, dragging along their timorous but canny buddy, the dark-skinned, big-haired sisters dash into danger with commendable vim, and readers will cheer when they come out triumphant on the other side.

This high-wattage debut is a little rough around the edges, but there’s nary a dull moment. (afterword) (Graphic fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-927668-11-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Koyama Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more