A tongue-in-cheek bildungsroman about celebrating differences and the underrated superpowers of gentleness and sweetness.

ANZU THE GREAT KAIJU

From the Anzu the Great Kaiju series , Vol. 1

Kaijus—giant Godzilla-like creatures—are supposed to have fearsome powers like atomic breath, the ability to summon storms, and magnetism—but not young Anzu.

Instead, he was born with the power of finding “beauty in small things.” Finally old enough to be assigned his own personal city to terrorize, Anzu hopes to impress his fond parents. But instead of inflicting fiery destruction on the tiny kodamalike residents at his feet, the best he can do is rain garlands of flowers down on them. He tries to wreak havoc by uprooting a tree but instead ends up creating a peaceful playground of blossoming animal topiaries. “I’ll never strike fear,” Anzu frets. “Am I even a kaiju?” Young readers may well share his doubts since, despite towering over the city of lumpy buildings made from low mounds of dirt, he and his family look more like cute, plump stuffies than scary reptilian beasts. When Anzu does at last manage a little devastation, his feeling of triumph is short-lived—and so, to restore joy and laughter, he exerts his special flower powers with surprising, and satisfying, results. The text is engaging and heartwarming without being cloying. The bright, colorful illustrations are rendered in watercolor and ink. Full-bleed artwork is interspersed with panels, which, along with the use of narrative boxes, lend a graphic feel to the presentation.

A tongue-in-cheek bildungsroman about celebrating differences and the underrated superpowers of gentleness and sweetness. (Graphic picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-77612-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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PUG BLASTS OFF

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale.

PUG'S SNOW DAY

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 2

Bub the anxious pug tackles snow days and new neighbors in his second outing.

Bub, acclaimed by some as “the cutest pug on the planet,” at first shares the enthusiasm owner Bella expresses about snow days even though he doesn’t know what they are. Then Duchess the cat (mildly antagonistic, in typical feline fashion) rains on Bub’s parade by pointing out that snow is water—and Bub’s no fan of rain or baths. After a comedic and disastrous first attempt, Bub learns how to properly dress for snow and enjoy it. The outdoor fun’s cut short by mysterious noises coming from the new neighbor, which frighten Bella into thinking there’s a monster. Bub puts on a Sherlock Holmes get-up to investigate but becomes afraid himself of the new neighbor’s large dog. Finally, Bella meets Jack, who’s been working on a tree fort, and his dog, Luna, who is enthusiastically friendly. The story ends on a positive note, as they all happily work together on the fort. The full-color cartoon illustrations, especially of Bub, are adorably expressive and certain to please the age group. The generous font and format—short, diary-entry paragraphs and speech-bubble conversations—create a quick pace. Bub’s stylized emoji bubbles return and are most hilarious when used to express his nervous flatulence. Bella and Jack both present white.

A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale. (Fantasy. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53006-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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