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THE RACC PACK

From the Racc Pack series , Vol. 1

A dumpster’s worth of laughs.

A family of raccoons trying to survive the winter find themselves pulling the heist of a lifetime.

On the streets of Toronto, Dusty, ReRe, and Scraps eke out a meager existence night to night, scavenging for scraps where they can get them. The mayor’s new raccoon-proof garbage bins prove no match for the trio’s brains and brawn, but food is getting harder to come by. When they discover a dumpster full of “ugly,” misshapen produce at Well Bean (a Whole Foods–like market), the Racc Pack is beyond thrilled: This is more than enough to last the winter! But Well Bean’s corrupt owner will stop at nothing to keep “vermin” out of his bins. Still, the Racc Pack won’t back down. With the help of new friends and a whole lot of determination, will the raccoons be able to pull off Mission Impawssible? Will the evil Jeff Beans and his wasteful megacorporation get their comeuppance? The social issues (food waste, humanity vs. wildlife, corporate corruption, gentrification, etc.) underpinning the heist plot are treated lightly, for the most part; the Jeff Bezos analogue, on the other hand, will be hilariously obvious—at least to adults. The comic tone and high energy are served well by the bright, busy illustrations, and if the plot itself is a bit thin, the antics, plans, and potential future heists of the roguish raccoons are more than enough fun to make up for it. Human characters are diverse; Jeff Beans is tan-skinned.

A dumpster’s worth of laughs. (Graphic fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 2024

ISBN: 9781665914932

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023

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DOG MAN AND CAT KID

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 4

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

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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 Hamiltonand 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 13, 2018

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DOG MAN

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 1

What a wag.

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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 Mancomics 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: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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