“It’s impossible! It’s unnatural! It’s weird!” exclaims Suki. Readers will echo Danny’s response: “Good enough for me!”...

NIGHTMARE OF THE IGUANA

From the Dragonbreath series , Vol. 8

Tasked with driving a fearsome Dream Wasp away from Wendell, their nerdy reptilian buddy, Danny Dragonbreath and Suki the salamander crawl into his sleeping brain. Eeeww.

So exhausted from lack of rest that he gets an A- on a test and reluctant to seek help from his New-Age mother (“No, Mom, not the kelp!”), Wendell turns in desperation to Danny’s wise if mythological great-grandfather Dragonbreath for advice. Thus it is that Danny and Suki, with a “baku” (dream eater) in tow, are soon on their way. They stumble through dream chambers stuffed with mounds of unappetizing health food, run from monstrous school bullies and search zillions of books (Reasons That I Will Die of Shame if Suki Ever Finds Out I Like Her) on the way to climactically vanquishing the giant Wasp (eek) and smashing her slime-filled eggs (yuck). As in episodes past, Vernon tells the tale in a running mix of prose and green-highlighted drawings with dialogue balloons, slides in wisecracks galore and closes with a teaser for the next chapter (something involving “mutant thieves”).

 “It’s impossible! It’s unnatural! It’s weird!” exclaims Suki. Readers will echo Danny’s response: “Good enough for me!” (Graphic hybrid fantasy. 8-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 29, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3846-1

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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Epic—in plot, not length—and as wise and wonderful as Gerald Morris’ Arthurian exploits.

KNIGHTS VS. DINOSAURS

Who needs dragons when there are Terrible Lizards to be fought?

Having recklessly boasted to King Arthur and the court that he’d slain 40 dragons, Sir Erec can hardly refuse when Merlin offers him more challenging foes…and so it is that in no time (so to speak), Erec, with bookish Sir Hector, the silent and enigmatic Black Knight, and blustering Sir Bors with his thin but doughty squire, Mel, in tow, are hewing away at fearsome creatures sporting natural armor and weapons every bit as effective as knightly ones. Happily, while all the glorious mashing and bashing leads to awesome feats aplenty—who would suspect that a ravening T. Rex could be decked by a well-placed punch to the jaw?—when the dust settles neither bloodshed nor permanent injury has been dealt to either side. Better yet, not even the stunning revelation that two of the Three Stooges–style bumblers aren’t what they seem (“Anyone else here a girl?”) keeps the questers from developing into a well-knit team capable of repeatedly saving one another’s bacon. Phelan endows the all-white human cast with finely drawn, eloquently expressive faces but otherwise works in a loose, movement-filled style, pitting his clanking crew against an almost nonstop onslaught of toothy monsters in a monochrome mix of single scenes and occasional wordless sequential panels.

Epic—in plot, not length—and as wise and wonderful as Gerald Morris’ Arthurian exploits. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-268623-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.

A WHALE OF THE WILD

After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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