CURSE OF THE WERE-WIENER

From the Dragonbreath series , Vol. 3

School lunch bites—literally—in the third impossibly droll escapade featuring dragonling Danny Dragonbreath and his peace-loving iguana buddy, Wendell. When Wendell and other students at Herpitax-Phibbias School For Reptiles and Amphibians are nipped by a strangely colored hot dog, Danny finds himself in a race against time to find and take out the Alpha-Wurst in a package of feral were-wieners before his friend and schoolmates are transformed into mindless minions. Dishing out most of the many punchlines and wisecracks in thick-lined red-and-green cartoons, Vernon crafts a mixed-format escapade that sends Danny and Wendell on a Journey through dark storm drains (cue a Joseph Campbell joke from Wendell; "Who?" asks Danny) to enlist the aid of an escaped sentient potato salad that likewise came out of the school kitchen—because “everybody knows that potato salad and hot dogs are ancient enemies”—and on to a gory (okay, ketchup-y) climax in the lunchroom fridge. What next? Would you believe….a Bat Monster? Stay tuned. (Graphic hybrid fantasy. 8-11) 

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3469-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2010

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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

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For Where’s Waldo? graduates who are ready for heavy-duty irony.

SUPER HAPPY MAGIC FOREST

From the Super Happy Magic Forest series

In the full-color world of Super Happy Magic Forest, everyone recognizes what evil looks like…or do they?

This over-the-top happy place with fun, dancing, and picnics every day maintains its positive energy because of three Mystical Crystals of Life. After a two-sentence exposition, readers learn that someone has stolen the crystals, throwing all the forest inhabitants into panic. The five bravest warriors, including the reluctant Blossom, a unicorn, and Trevor, a red-and-white mushroom, go in search of the culprit, only to find in the end that their arduous journey has been for naught. In this debut picture book, Long fills nearly every page with details that will keep young readers engaged and interested: a penguin distraught over losing the frying pan it evidently uses as a cudgel, a gravestone bearing the name of one of the warriors, a headless skeleton preparing to decapitate the clueless Blossom. Some pages will remind readers of the Smurfs’ village—another superhappy place—while others seem to take a page from video game journeys, with many twists and turns. In the end, though, this book that exudes youthfulness and joy delivers quite a cynical message: sometimes those in whom we’ve placed the most trust can betray us. And when they do, they should expect a comeuppance sans mercy.

For Where’s Waldo? graduates who are ready for heavy-duty irony. (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-86059-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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