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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Definitely on the Wimpy Kid bandwagon, but less vicious with the satire and therefore all the more welcome. (Graphic novel....

ARIOL

JUST A DONKEY LIKE YOU AND ME

From the Ariol series , Vol. 1

Scenes from the life of a middle-grade Everydonkey.

Aside from a few tears after being suddenly struck by the expressions “dumbass” and “dumb as a donkey” (his mother gently joshes him out of his funk), Ariol travels a relatively gentle emotional landscape in this series opener. Giggle-inducing episodes usually involve Ariol’s friend Ramono the pig, who sets off a nose-to-nose, no-hands game of “pass the tissue” at school and later brings fake vomit on a class outing (“My dad had bought it to play a joke on my mom, before their divorce”). Other experiences range from providing commentary for a triumphant tennis match against illusory opponent Stevie McFailure to cutting up in gym and, in the finale, suffering a nightmare in which he has to choose between class crush Petula the cow or becoming an interstellar knight with beloved equine superhero Thunder Horse. Boutavant arranges the all-animal cast in large sequential panels that never look crowded even when the dialogue balloons multiply.

Definitely on the Wimpy Kid bandwagon, but less vicious with the satire and therefore all the more welcome. (Graphic novel. 8-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59707-399-8

Page Count: 124

Publisher: Papercutz

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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Saddled with lots of rules and constraints but some brainwork—and no batteries—required.

THE LEGEND OF GRIMM'S WOODS

THE COMIC BOOK YOU CAN PLAY

From the Comic Quests series , Vol. 1

A seemingly innocent red-cloaked girl and her evil grandma aren’t the only hazards awaiting visitors to a magic wood in this graphic “choose your path” adventure.

Eager to undertake their “Masters of the magical creatures” exam, sibs Hocus and Pocus trot off into Grimm’s Woods in search of two vanished children—then proceed to go their separate ways to encounters with wolves, witches, and other familiar, if sometimes tweaked, residents. The intertwined storylines are played as a game: Readers choose either Hocus or Pocus as avatars; select one of three magical helpers; and then flip back or forth from one numbered panel of cleanly drawn cartoon art to another as options and narrative instructions direct. Challenges added to the plotted hazards include simple number and math puzzles to solve, mazes to run, phrases with missing letters, mini board games requiring coins and dice, and other tests. Game sheets (6 provided, further copies available as a download) are required to keep track of used supplies and accumulated rewards. Players with short attention spans may find all the record-keeping onerous, and too many of the panels are only transitional filler. Still, there are a fair number of cliffhangers, the level of explicit violence is low, and ultimately “you” as either Hocus or Pocus get to shove the witch into a bubbling pot and rescue the children. Hocus, Pocus, and the other human and humanoid characters for the most part present white.

Saddled with lots of rules and constraints but some brainwork—and no batteries—required. (Graphic game fantasy. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68369-057-3

Page Count: 153

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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