Fans will be glad of the ominous ending that portends more adventures to come.

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INTO THE OUTLANDS

From the Quirk's Quest series , Vol. 1

What secrets and perils lie in the outlands of Crutonia?

Capt. Quenterindy Quirk, who’s not as qualified as he thinks, is given command of the HMS Gwaniimander by King Hoonkl and charged with exploring and charting the lesser-known northern areas of the kingdom. A few days into the mission, they encounter carnivorous, four-eyed giants that destroy the ship and eat several crew members. The survivors take up residence in a cave, but it’s not uninhabited. The sorceress Hukka will allow them to stay only three days, but the giants, the Hooklm, are still about. Quirk’s cartographer, Nersel Bukubay, stumbles upon another indigenous species, the happy, friendly Yoon (who are poisonous to the Hooklm). Meanwhile, Hukka kidnaps one of Quirk’s injured crew. Can the survivors escape magic users and hungry giants while still working to complete their mission? Christie and Lang met as kids in New York and began writing and illustrating tales set in Crutonia. Now the duo debut a series of graphic novels with an aesthetic that looks as though it was inspired by Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock. Several furry species—some with as few as two legs and others with as many as six—inhabit their eccentric, medieval-feeling land. The colorful cartoon panels are inviting, and the adventure tale will draw readers further in. The goofy names are a bit much, but a handy character list is provided at the close.

Fans will be glad of the ominous ending that portends more adventures to come. (Graphic adventure. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62672-233-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low.

DOG MAN AND CAT KID

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 4

Recasting Dog Man and his feline ward, Li’l Petey, as costumed superheroes, Pilkey looks East of Eden in this follow-up to Tale of Two Kitties (2017).

The Steinbeck novel’s Cain/Abel motif gets some play here, as Petey, “world’s evilest cat” and cloned Li’l Petey’s original, tries assiduously to tempt his angelic counterpart over to the dark side only to be met, ultimately at least, by Li’l Petey’s “Thou mayest.” (There are also occasional direct quotes from the novel.) But inner struggles between good and evil assume distinctly subordinate roles to riotous outer ones, as Petey repurposes robots built for a movie about the exploits of Dog Man—“the thinking man’s Rin Tin Tin”—while leading a general rush to the studio’s costume department for appropriate good guy/bad guy outfits in preparation for the climactic battle. During said battle and along the way Pilkey tucks in multiple Flip-O-Rama inserts as well as general gags. He lists no fewer than nine ways to ask “who cut the cheese?” and includes both punny chapter titles (“The Bark Knight Rises”) and nods to Hamilton and Mary Poppins. The cartoon art, neatly and brightly colored by Garibaldi, is both as easy to read as the snappy dialogue and properly endowed with outsized sound effects, figures displaying a range of skin colors, and glimpses of underwear (even on robots).

More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low. (drawing instructions) (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-93518-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

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