The sources may be old, but the drollery is timeless.

NOODLEHEADS DO THE IMPOSSIBLE

From the Noodleheads series , Vol. 6

Empty-headed (literally) sibs Mac and Mac fulfill the title’s promise with their grandest, daftest quest yet.

Inspired by their uncle Ziti’s “impossible” yarn about a snake and a frog that swallowed each other, the tubular twins decide to become famous for an impossible feat of their own. But what? Walking around the world? Counting all the stars above? Or all the grains of sand below? Each turns out to present certain difficulties—after counting a “bazillion” stars, for instance, Mac and Mac find more that have fallen into their mom’s washtub and need to be rescued. “Are they heavy?” asks Mac. Mac responds: “No, they’re light.” (Ha, ha.) Adults, particularly those of a scholarly bent, will appreciate the fantastically detailed, tiny-type notes at the end about folktale motifs, variations drawn from diverse traditions, modern versions, idioms, and even the notion of “infinity.” Readers younger of age and/or heart will chortle at the Macs’ general cluelessness, then cheer them on as they do get “around the world” just in time for lunch—thanks to the intervention of frenemy Meatball, the only nonpasta player in Arnold’s foodcentric cartoon frames, who turns their shoes around while they’re napping. The little jokes embedded within the large ones are just as delightful, as when Mac and Mac try to figure out how to “always [put] your best foot forward.” It’s not as easy as grown-ups say it is.

The sources may be old, but the drollery is timeless. (Graphic early reader. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4003-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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What a wag.

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DOG MAN

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 1

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 Man comics 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: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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