A sweet and gentle tale of self-affirmation.

THE WILD CAT

From the Mr. Badger and Mrs. Fox series , Vol. 6

A fox longs to be the cat’s meow.

Ginger, a cheery orange fox who is part of a blended badger/fox family, hears rather exciting news: Sylvester the Wild Cat will be performing that evening. Sylvester is a round gray cat with a ringed tail, a bright yellow mask, and significant acrobatic ability. Ginger inquires as to what makes Sylvester “wild” when he looks like any other cat and is enthusiastically told that he is “stronger…bigger…and flashy!” At the show, Ginger is enchanted and yearns to climb trees as nimbly as the fleet-footed feline. Unfortunately, she is ridiculed for her species-defying aspiration. Dismayed, she receives encouragement from her largely absentee father and learns that Sylvester may not be as wild as he seems. Evinced through warm and whimsical watercolors, Luciani and Tharlet’s lovely graphic offering feels as snug and familiar as a Beatrix Potter tale but adds a modern spin with its emphasis on being true to oneself. Vulpine Ginger is taunted for being different in many ways, from how she lives to what she desires; young readers should find the treatment of this theme easily accessible but not preachy or saccharine. Even though this is the sixth installment in the series, this self-contained story is a fine jumping-in point.

A sweet and gentle tale of self-affirmation. (Graphic fantasy. 6-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-0086-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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A simple but by no means simplistic tale emphasizing the universality of kindness.

THE WAY HOME

From the Owly series , Vol. 1

A wide-eyed owl yearns to make friends.

Owly, a gentle bird of prey, just wants to help. The other forest creatures fear him even when he approaches with kindness and support. Owly tries leaving seed to feed the smaller birds, but they flee when they spot him. He rescues two insects trapped in a jar, but again, they fly off when they spy the raptor. Owly’s luck turns when he aids a worm named Wormy trapped in a puddle. Wormy and Owly forge an unlikely but genial friendship, and their forest adventures include reuniting Wormy with his missing parents and then befriending—and ultimately having to say goodbye to—two lovely hummingbirds who must migrate south as the seasons change. When adversity challenges Owly, he reacts calmly, communicates his feelings with Wormy, and acts with warmth and bravery. Originally published in 2004 as a wordless, black-and-white volume, this reissue adds both color, with a cheery earth-toned palette, and dialogue among most of the characters, with the exception of Owly, who communicates only through pictures. Runton’s evocative characters are nothing short of huggably adorable and affirm the importance of compassion and empathy against perceived stereotypes. Owly and Wormy both identify as male characters; hummingbird friends Tiny and Angel identify as male and female, respectively.

A simple but by no means simplistic tale emphasizing the universality of kindness. (Graphic fantasy. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-30066-6

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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A crowd pleaser in an otherwise crowded oeuvre.

THE SEWER RAT STINK

From the Geronimo Stilton Graphic Novels series , Vol. 1

The ubiquitous rodent journalist returns in a new iteration.

Geronimo Stilton, publisher extraordinaire of the Rodent’s Gazette, has a new story to investigate: New Mouse City is plagued by a deeply malodorous stink. As the stench intensifies, the residents flee, selling their homes. Stilton, flanked by his banana-loving friend Hercule Poirat, forays into the sewers to locate the fount of the funk. There, the duo encounters rat queen Trashfur Sparkles XIII and her Grand Council. Trashfur, the mastermind behind the nefariously noxious plan, has set her sights on wedding Hercule and marrying Geronimo off to one of her council members; how will Geronimo escape this time? This new graphic-novel series published by Graphix/Scholastic (not to be confused with Papercutz’s ongoing Geronimo Stilton, Reporter graphic-novel series) and illustrated by Angleberger (of Origami Yoda fame) utilizes a decidedly more cartoonish style than the Papercutz version, more along the Dav Pilkey aesthetic. Funny and fast-paced, this offering is infused with a generous amount of over-the-top silliness, with occasional breaks to explain jokes to readers (explaining that gorgonzola is a type of cheese, for example). With easy-to-read and varied typefaces and oversized, full-color panels, this should effortlessly appeal to the younger set, making it an obvious choice for those deciding what to read next after Dog Man.

A crowd pleaser in an otherwise crowded oeuvre. (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-58730-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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