Charming and funny proof that friendship is the key to any hairy situation.

BEDHEAD TED

Ted might have a terrible nickname, but he’ll need to get over it to take on a bully, a beast, and a bad case of bedhead.

A giant raccoon is rumored to be running amok in small-town Brookside, but as fourth grade starts, Ted has bigger concerns on his mind. His best friend, Stacy, doesn’t seem to have a problem with it, but Ted’s hair is notoriously unwieldy—always has been—and one bully in particular seems to be leading the charge to make sure Ted never feels normal. The nickname Bedhead Ted catches on, and despite Stacy’s insistence that things will get better, Ted resents every strand, tress, and lock that makes him special. In this graphic novel with full-color, mixed media illustrations, Ted’s big, bright orange hair often takes center stage, but the cast of characters featuring diverse skin tones, hair, and facial features is also noteworthy. When Ted discovers surprising abilities that come with his unique hair—abilities secretly shared by his maternal grandfather and multiple generations of his family—the heroics and hijinks are both silly and exciting, breezily leading readers through both a superhero origin story and a mystery. Elastic hair with superstrength aside, Stacy and Ted’s support of one another through relatable obstacles powers this whole adventure and finally leads to answers regarding the Brookside Beast.

Charming and funny proof that friendship is the key to any hairy situation. (map) (Graphic fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-294130-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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Silly and inventive fast-paced fun

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INVESTIGATORS

From the InvestiGators series , Vol. 1

A zippy graphic-novel series opener featuring two comically bumbling reptile detectives.

As agents of SUIT (Special Undercover Investigation Team) with customized VESTs (Very Exciting Spy Technology) boasting the latest gadgetry, the bright green InvestiGators Mango and Brash receive their newest assignment. The reptilian duo must go undercover at the Batter Down bakery to find missing mustachioed Chef Gustavo and his secret recipes. Before long, the pair find themselves embroiled in a strange and busy plot with a scientist chicken, a rabid were-helicopter, an escape-artist dinosaur, and radioactive cracker dough. Despite the great number of disparate threads, Green manages to tie up most neatly, leaving just enough intrigue for subsequent adventures. Nearly every panel has a joke, including puns (“gator done!”), poop jokes, and pop-culture references (eagle-eyed older readers will certainly pick up on the 1980s song references), promising to make even the most stone-faced readers dissolve into giggles. Green’s art is as vibrant as an overturned box of crayons and as highly spirited as a Saturday-morning cartoon. Fast pacing and imaginative plotting (smattered with an explosion here, a dance number there) propel the action through a whimsical world in which a diverse cast of humans live alongside anthropomorphized reptiles and dinosaurs. With its rampant good-natured goofiness and its unrelenting fizz and pep, this feels like a sugar rush manifested as a graphic novel.

Silly and inventive fast-paced fun . (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21995-4

Page Count: 208

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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