Some readers will come for the heartbreak, others will come for the forest of cupcake trees, but everyone will be cheered by...

READ REVIEW

MAL AND CHAD

FOOD FIGHT!

From the Mal and Chad series , Vol. 2

There are some literary characters you wish were real, so that you could be friends with them, and Mal and Chad may belong on that list.

Talking dogs are the subject of a lot of jokes, but they have feelings, too. Chad, for example, has two shameful secrets: He’s frightened by his dreams, and he’s afraid of cats. Every night, he dreams he’s being chased by a cat of monstrous size. Luckily, his best friend is Mal, who’s invented a machine that lets them walk into dreams, and the two of them can face the monster together. Dream sequences are a gold mine for a cartoonist. McCranie has seized the chance to fit every item in his sketchbook into the story. The high point is a forest made out of snack food. Mal immediately starts making snow angels in the chocolate-chip ice cream. The inventions and talking animals may remind some readers of Calvin and Hobbes, but surprisingly, the graphic novel doesn’t suffer much from the comparison. The timing isn’t quite as sharp as Bill Watterson’s, but some panels achieve a poignancy that makes this its own kind of story.

Some readers will come for the heartbreak, others will come for the forest of cupcake trees, but everyone will be cheered by the happy ending, which involves the “biggest, bestest bark ever!” (Graphic novel. 8-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-25657-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

NIGHTLIGHTS

When a young girl’s imagination and creativity are co-opted by a mysterious new friend, she must find a way to regain what is rightfully hers.

Sandy is a brown-skinned, dark-haired girl with big black eyes and a vivid imagination. At night, as she goes to sleep, she catches the lights bobbing about in her room and turns them into anything she imagines. The next day is spent drawing the fantastical creatures from her dreams, much to the detriment of her schoolwork. When a tall, pale-skinned girl with purple hair befriends her, Sandy is excited, though there is something eerie and unsettling about her new companion. Her excitement soon turns to anger as Morfie enters her imaginative nighttime world and tries to take it over. Readers will cheer at the clever way in which Sandy regains control. Using a lovely palette that includes a liberal amount of rich, dark purple, Colombian-born Alvarez has drawn a world that harks back to her native Bogotá and days in Catholic school, evoking it in wonderful detail and atmosphere. Her pages are not crowded yet are filled with details that will engage readers. The beings that inhabit Sandy’s nighttime world are simply delightful. The album size, cloth spine binding, and spot gloss on the cover are the icing on the cake of this beautiful graphic novel.

A winner. (Graphic fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-910620-13-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Nobrow Ltd.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock”...

THE SINGING ROCK & OTHER BRAND-NEW FAIRY TALES

The theme of persistence (for better or worse) links four tales of magic, trickery, and near disasters.

Lachenmeyer freely borrows familiar folkloric elements, subjecting them to mildly comical twists. In the nearly wordless “Hip Hop Wish,” a frog inadvertently rubs a magic lamp and finds itself saddled with an importunate genie eager to shower it with inappropriate goods and riches. In the title tale, an increasingly annoyed music-hating witch transforms a persistent minstrel into a still-warbling cow, horse, sheep, goat, pig, duck, and rock in succession—then is horrified to catch herself humming a tune. Athesius the sorcerer outwits Warthius, a rival trying to steal his spells via a parrot, by casting silly ones in Ig-pay Atin-lay in the third episode, and in the finale, a painter’s repeated efforts to create a flattering portrait of an ogre king nearly get him thrown into a dungeon…until he suddenly understands what an ogre’s idea of “flattering” might be. The narratives, dialogue, and sound effects leave plenty of elbow room in Blocker’s big, brightly colored panels for the expressive animal and human(ish) figures—most of the latter being light skinned except for the golden genie, the blue ogre, and several people of color in the “Sorcerer’s New Pet.”

Alert readers will find the implicit morals: know your audience, mostly, but also never underestimate the power of “rock” music. (Graphic short stories. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59643-750-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more