Nothing new and nothing too scary, all frights in good fun.

READ REVIEW

SLAPPY'S TALES OF HORROR

From the Graphix Goosebumps series

Four tales sure to give goose bumps…told graphically.

Each of the four tales collected here, inspired by early Goosebumps chapter books from the 1990s, is interpreted by a different comics artist. In panels that harken back to classic horror comics, Jamie Tolagson’s “A Shocker on Shock Street” relates the tale of two friends who get to test a horror ride based on their favorite movie franchise. Gabriel Hernandez’s shadowy, modern-looking retelling of “The Werewolf of Fever Swamp” finds new-kid-in-the-swamp Grady and his dog dodging a werewolf; and Ted Naifeh’s Little Orphan Annie–meets-manga–style “Ghost Beach” tells of siblings sent to live with distant relatives near a haunted cave. Each of these re-collected tales culled from previous Graphix publications gets ghoulish full-color treatment for the first time (final art not seen). The sole tale original to this collection, Dave Roman’s “Night of the Living Dummy,” is the most visually cartoonish of the lot. Competitive twins Kris and Lindy fight over Slappy, a ventriloquist’s dummy they find in a dumpster. To settle the argument, their mother just buys another dummy—with spooky results. Roman also contributes short, cajoling introductions to each title starring Slappy, à la the Crypt Keeper of old. Given the upcoming movie and the continued interest in the brand, this slick, well-done package will excite a lot of interest.

Nothing new and nothing too scary, all frights in good fun. (Graphic horror. 9-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-83600-5

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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This engaging, heartwarming story does everything one can ask of a book, and then some.

WHEN STARS ARE SCATTERED

A Somali boy living in a refugee camp in Kenya tries to make a future for himself and his brother in this near memoir interpreted as a graphic novel by collaborator Jamieson.

Omar Mohamed lives in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya with his younger brother, Hassan, who has a seizure disorder, and Fatuma, an elderly woman assigned to foster them in their parents’ absence. The boys’ father was killed in Somalia’s civil war, prompting them to flee on foot when they were separated from their mother. They desperately hope she is still alive and looking for them, as they are for her. The book covers six years, during which Omar struggles with decisions about attending school and how much hope to have about opportunities to resettle in a new land, like the United States. Through Omar’s journey, and those of his friends and family members, readers get a close, powerful view of the trauma and uncertainty that attend life as a refugee as well as the faith, love, and support from unexpected quarters that get people through it. Jamieson’s characteristically endearing art, warmly colored by Geddy, perfectly complements Omar’s story, conjuring memorable and sympathetic characters who will stay with readers long after they close the book. Photographs of the brothers and an afterword provide historical context; Mohamed and Jamieson each contribute an author’s note.

This engaging, heartwarming story does everything one can ask of a book, and then some. (Graphic memoir. 9-13)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-55391-5

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A solid, not particularly daring addition to the hybrid format for middle-grade readers, mixing drama with heart.

POSITIVELY IZZY

This reader-friendly graphic/prose hybrid explores the lives of two very different girls who have an unexpected connection.

Izzy and Brianna both, separately, navigate difficult middle school experiences. Brianna, whose story is told entirely in sequential panels, is studious, reserved, and a little lonely. Izzy, who tells her story in paragraphs broken up by illustrations, is an unreliable middle sister with a love for performance and a lot of indifference toward schoolwork. Izzy sneaks out against her mother’s wishes to perform in the school talent show, while Bri’s mother (also a teacher at her school) convinces her to fill in for a sick actor. Both girls juggle complex family dynamics, shifting friend groups, and boys in the hours leading up to their performances. The story is light but resonant for middle graders, with constant comedic asides in the illustrations. Both girls appear white (based on the color cover), with multiracial supporting casts, and both threads of the story skirt larger issues. The opening pages, in which Bri complains about labels, hint at a larger theme that recedes into the background as the two girls struggle with their interpersonal relationships. Readers primed by the back-cover blurb will spend the whole book waiting for the two stories to intersect, with a surprise reveal at the end that may call for an immediate reread.

A solid, not particularly daring addition to the hybrid format for middle-grade readers, mixing drama with heart. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-248497-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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