A welcome addition to shelves of graphic novels for new readers

PEACE AND QUIET

From the Mr. Badger and Mrs. Fox series , Vol. 4

A blended family of badgers and foxes make the best of close quarters in this wintertime story.

Mr. Badger and his three kits, Bristle, Berry and Grub, along with Mrs. Fox and her pup, Ginger, are hunkering down for a long winter together in this early-reader book that makes great use of comic conventions. Panel illustrations show the family gathering materials to make their shared den nice and cozy, while also discussing their differing wintertime behaviors: The badgers don’t hibernate, but they do sleep an awful lot to preserve their energy, and they rely on fat reserves to stay warm throughout the season, while the foxes grow thick winter coats and plan to hunt in the snowy forest. At first, the little ones have a hard time understanding these differences, and a dose of cabin fever makes the living situation rather fraught. Happily, the parents step in to ease tensions and to help their children make the most of the season and of their relationships with one another. Speech balloons, endearing illustrations of the characters, well-paced panels and lots of action from scene to scene will keep young readers invested in this story, particularly if they are already familiar with the previous titles in the series.

A welcome addition to shelves of graphic novels for new readers . (Graphic animal fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8225-9163-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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As delightful as any of the bounteous, monkey-filled books out there.

MONKEY & ROBOT

FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS

A third outing for friends Monkey and Robot spells all sorts of F-U-N.

Catalanotto continues the series’ usual formula: four stand-alone chapters peppered with the primate-machine odd couple’s antics. In the first chapter, Monkey asks Robot which day he was born. Robot says, “I was not born. I was built.” Since that “built-day” happens to be the next day, Monkey brainstorms aloud his wildest party ideas. Cake! Cookies! Balloons! Surprises! Despite Robot’s insistence that he doesn’t want to celebrate, Robot eventually goes along with the plan—and maybe even feels as special as Monkey wants him to. Other chapters cover a visit from an “ex-gladiator” (translation: exterminator), a birdsitting accident involving the neighbor’s parakeet, and a giggly, messy human baby. Though all four chapters practically bounce with silliness, there’s an overall groundedness that supports the overarching “I can fix it” theme. Black-and-white illustrations carry the text’s simple dialogue and occasional narration from panel to panel. On average, there are three or four panels per page. The few human side characters show some diversity in skin tone. Clothed, anthropomorphic Monkey’s childlike innocence and curiosity are spot-on—if a bit too human for pure comfort. One notable scene touches briefly on transracial adoption when Monkey asks why mother Tina, who presents white, looks different from baby Zhen, who is Chinese.

As delightful as any of the bounteous, monkey-filled books out there. (Graphic early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-939547-59-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Creston

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Just the ticket for readers who find it hilarious to decorate a broccoli for Christmas or discover that what looks like deep...

SIMONE: EVEN MORE MONSTROUS

From the Simone series , Vol. 2

Repulsively blonde, blue-eyed, fair-skinned Simone steps out of sluglike young Morris’ bedroom closet for further ventures into the counterpane world of monsters.

Following the lead of Simone: the Best Monster Ever (2017), the 44 independent episodes read like a collection of comic strips—each presented on a single page in three to five cartoon panels with a twist or punch line at the end. Despite occasional lapses, such as Simone’s hard-won discovery that when Morris says the stars in his world are like birds what he means is that they poop, in general Simard dials down the grossness here. Now the jokes run along the lines of how much more fun hockey is once the other team’s goalie is eaten, or the revelation that a cubist Picasso painting Simone admires is actually Morris’ friend Norman. The variously colored, eyed, and armed creatures in the art are likewise more comical than scary, and throughout, their reactions to Simone, like hers to them, are matter-of-fact acceptance rather than terror or disgust.

Just the ticket for readers who find it hilarious to decorate a broccoli for Christmas or discover that what looks like deep snow on the lawn is actually shaving cream. (Graphic picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77147-300-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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