A mostly smooth adaptation sure to delight fans new and old.

THE LOST HEIR

From the Wings of Fire: The Graphic Novel series , Vol. 2

The second volume in a popular graphic-novel spinoff delves deeper into one dragonet’s past.

Jumping right into the action where previous volume Wings of Fire (2017) left off, the “dragonets of destiny” have escaped captivity and now travel to the underwater realm of SeaWing dragon Tsunami. In the Kingdom of the Sea, outspoken cerulean-hued Tsunami is reunited with her long-lost mother, Queen Coral, and is delighted to have seemingly found her place. However, all is not as it seems in Queen Coral’s court, where the dragonets soon learn that deception and treachery abound. Tsunami is soon faced with a difficult decision: Does she remain with the trusted dragonets or stay with the family of whom she has always dreamed? In Deutsch’s graphic-novel adaptation, Sutherland’s high-fantasy series is lushly sprawling and intricate in its worldbuilding and character development. Holmes’ illustrations are richly imagined, conveying the many action scenes through a vivid lens, and colorist Laiho uses a jeweled palette for the dragons. Some scenes may be tough to follow for readers unfamiliar with the original series, but the fast-paced and thrilling adventures more than make up for this minor quibble. Although all characters are dragons, familiar themes such as acceptance of those who are different and finding one’s place in the world are explored, broadening the appeal beyond dragon devotees.

A mostly smooth adaptation sure to delight fans new and old. (Graphic fantasy. 7-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-545-94221-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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A witty addition to the long-running series.

THE DEEP END

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 15

The Wimpy Kid hits the road.

The Heffley clan has been stuck living together in Gramma’s basement for two months, waiting for the family home to be repaired, and the constant togetherness has been getting on everybody’s nerves. Luckily Greg’s Uncle Gary has a camper waiting for someone to use it, and so the Heffleys set off on the open road looking for an adventurous vacation, hoping the changing scenery will bring a spark back to the family unit. The winding road leads the Heffleys to a sprawling RV park, a setting teeming with possibilities for Greg to get up to his usual shenanigans. Greg’s snarky asides and misadventures continue to entertain. At this point the Wimpy Kid books run like a well-oiled machine, paced perfectly with witty lines, smart gags, and charming cartoons. Kinney knows just where to put a joke, the precise moment to give a character shading, and exactly how to get the narrative rolling, spinning out the oddest plot developments. The appreciation Kinney has for these characters seeps through the novels, endearing the Heffleys to readers even through this title, the 15th installment in a franchise boasting spinoffs, movies, and merchandise. There may come a time when Greg and his family overstay their welcome, but thankfully that day still seems far off.

A witty addition to the long-running series. (Humor. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4868-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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