Nothing will stop readers from devouring this book.

BARB THE LAST BERZERKER

From the Barb the Last Berzerker series , Vol. 1

She-Ra meets How To Train Your Dragon in this vivacious series starter.

In the world of Bailiwick, bands of Berzerkers protect the people and land from roaming monsters. Barb is a small, light-skinned Berzerker with a mess of curly black hair, a fierce, can-do attitude, and an aesthetic that lightly nods to Wonder Woman. When her band of Zerks is tricked and captured by an evil demon named Witch Head, only Barb is able to escape, stealing the Shadow Blade, Witch Head’s magical sword, in the process. Teaming up with Porkchop, a friendly blue yeti, it’s up to Barb to harness the power of the Shadow Blade and journey to recruit the Northern Zerks to help defeat Witch Head. The art is bright, energetic, and stylistically akin to that of Jeffrey Brown. Thick lines, varied paneling, and a consistently large font further the book’s wide appeal. Human background characters have a diverse range of skin colors. Readers will delight in the occasional gross-out jokes, strange creatures (vampire goat fiends, mergoblins, the Grub of Death), heartwarming camaraderie, and the over-the-top villain. Amidst the silly chaos are quieter moments that touch on Barb’s familial trauma, the cost of the war between Berzerkers and monsters, and what it means to be a good friend. Earnest, unstoppable Barb is easy to root for, and the next volume will be eagerly anticipated.

Nothing will stop readers from devouring this book. (map) (Graphic adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-8571-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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Fans of the series will be delighted.

CLASH

From the Click series , Vol. 4

Can Olive stay positive when a social-climbing bully moves to town?

In her fourth adventure, sixth grader Olive Branche is on top of the world until new girl Natasha begins to encroach on her friendships, slowly and methodically freezing her out of her many different social circles. Relentlessly optimistic Olive tries to stay genial despite Nat’s overt jibes, but when Nat takes it to a new level and ruins Olive’s carefully planned Halloween party, Olive finally confronts her. When Nat finds herself consequently ostracized, empathetic Olive has a change of heart and extends her an olive branch (groan). Olive and Nat’s relationship is highly idealized, bordering almost on wish fulfillment; Nat’s backstory offers some explanation for her behavior, but she is accepted back into the fold more easily than may seem realistic. Olive’s appeal is in her unceasing Pollyanna-like sunniness and her ability to be accommodating and find the best in every situation. Though consistent in tone with its predecessors, in this entry Olive does have some moments of anger (albeit quickly reconciled); her portrayal here is the most human she’s been throughout the series. Although this is the fourth installment, each volume is mostly self-contained, making this equally accessible for established and new readers. Olive and Nat read as White; the supporting cast is inclusive and diverse.

Fans of the series will be delighted. (Halloween costume craft ideas, author Q&A) (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-24220-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Etch/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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An apocalyptic adventure with a whole lot of heart.

THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH AND THE ZOMBIE PARADE

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 2

Thirteen-year-old Jack Sullivan and his crew of monster-fighting besties are fresh off their victorious battle against the evil Blarg, but there’s no rest for the weary in the middle of a Monster Apocalypse.

First, Joe’s Pizza has become the local monster hangout. And second, the zombies seem to be disappearing. Thankfully, the white boy, his not-so-secret Latina love, June Del Toro, his African-American, science-nerd best friend, Quint, and pre-apocalypse bully–turned-ally Dirk, a large white boy who loves to garden, befriend a man-monster who might have the answers to everything. Equal parts humor, adventure, and warmth, the book offers fans of the series and new readers alike an entirely agreeable outing. Jack’s witty narration and Holgate’s pitch-perfect illustrations make for a terrific read that’s particularly well suited for middle-grade boys who might otherwise be reluctant to pick up a book. There are plenty of foul-smelling, brain-sucking monsters and gizmos and gadgets to delight, but at its core, this is a story about friendship. Orphaned at birth and raised by a foster family he describes as jerks, Jack has always longed for a family of his own. Now that he has one, the only thing scarier than the monsters is the thought of losing them.

An apocalyptic adventure with a whole lot of heart. (Horror. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-670-01662-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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