Snarky and fun the first time through, and in this form too.

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HILDA AND THE HIDDEN PEOPLE

Hoping to head off an impending move to the city, Hilda makes peace with her tiny, invisible neighbors.

Recast into prose from Luke Pearson’s Hildafolk comics and scheduled for release in conjunction with an upcoming animated series, this episodic tale records the intrepid, blue-haired young adventurer’s encounters with a troll, a pair of truly “huge-mongous” giants, and a community of thumb-sized elves whose newly elected prime minister is out to evict her and her single mom from their wilderness home as oversized nuisances. Though the faintly Scandinavian setting is contemporary (at one point Hilda’s mother, a graphic designer, drives her into urban Trolberg), Hilda’s quest to negotiate a deal with the elven king and the tests of courage and cleverness she undergoes along the way definitely cast her in the traditional heroic mold. The supporting cast is likewise ostensibly folkloric but dished up with a few twists—the elves, drawn Keebler-style with little pointy hats in Miller’s frequent two-color cartoon drawings, are addicted to forms and paperwork, for instance, and a tiny wooden sprite who pops up occasionally to make rude comments turns out to enjoy books and cool jazz. Multiple near disasters and hairbreadth rescues later, Hilda and her mother have to move anyway after a giant heedlessly steps on their cottage. Still, magical adventures aplenty wait in the city.

Snarky and fun the first time through, and in this form too. (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-911171-44-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Epic—in plot, not length—and as wise and wonderful as Gerald Morris’ Arthurian exploits.

KNIGHTS VS. DINOSAURS

Who needs dragons when there are Terrible Lizards to be fought?

Having recklessly boasted to King Arthur and the court that he’d slain 40 dragons, Sir Erec can hardly refuse when Merlin offers him more challenging foes…and so it is that in no time (so to speak), Erec, with bookish Sir Hector, the silent and enigmatic Black Knight, and blustering Sir Bors with his thin but doughty squire, Mel, in tow, are hewing away at fearsome creatures sporting natural armor and weapons every bit as effective as knightly ones. Happily, while all the glorious mashing and bashing leads to awesome feats aplenty—who would suspect that a ravening T. Rex could be decked by a well-placed punch to the jaw?—when the dust settles neither bloodshed nor permanent injury has been dealt to either side. Better yet, not even the stunning revelation that two of the Three Stooges–style bumblers aren’t what they seem (“Anyone else here a girl?”) keeps the questers from developing into a well-knit team capable of repeatedly saving one another’s bacon. Phelan endows the all-white human cast with finely drawn, eloquently expressive faces but otherwise works in a loose, movement-filled style, pitting his clanking crew against an almost nonstop onslaught of toothy monsters in a monochrome mix of single scenes and occasional wordless sequential panels.

Epic—in plot, not length—and as wise and wonderful as Gerald Morris’ Arthurian exploits. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-268623-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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It’s not the first time old Ben has paid our times a call, but it’s funny and free-spirited, with an informational load that...

BEN FRANKLIN'S IN MY BATHROOM!

Antics both instructive and embarrassing ensue after a mysterious package left on their doorstep brings a Founding Father into the lives of two modern children.

Summoned somehow by what looks for all the world like an old-time crystal radio set, Ben Franklin turns out to be an amiable sort. He is immediately taken in hand by 7-year-old Olive for a tour of modern wonders—early versions of which many, from electrical appliances in the kitchen to the Illinois town’s public library and fire department, he justly lays claim to inventing. Meanwhile big brother Nolan, 10, tags along, frantic to return him to his own era before either their divorced mom or snoopy classmate Tommy Tuttle sees him. Fleming, author of Ben Franklin’s Almanac (2003) (and also, not uncoincidentally considering the final scene of this outing, Our Eleanor, 2005), mixes history with humor as the great man dispenses aphorisms and reminiscences through diverse misadventures, all of which end well, before vanishing at last. Following a closing, sequel-cueing kicker (see above) she then separates facts from fancies in closing notes, with print and online leads to more of the former. To go with spot illustrations of the evidently all-white cast throughout the narrative, Fearing incorporates change-of-pace sets of sequential panels for Franklin’s biographical and scientific anecdotes. Final illustrations not seen.

It’s not the first time old Ben has paid our times a call, but it’s funny and free-spirited, with an informational load that adds flavor without weight. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93406-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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