CAT KID COMIC CLUB

From the Cat Kid Comic Club series , Vol. 1

Crime takes a back seat to craft in Cat Kid’s series debut.

Cat Kid, aka Li’l Petey, steps out of his Dog Man sidekick role as president of the titular comic club, with psychokinetic tadpole Molly as vice-president, her 21 baby-frog siblings as members, and their dad, Flippy the fish, as anxious arbiter of literary excellence. Readers new to the Pilkeyverse will be won over by its genial looniness as Li’l Petey works valiantly to teach his club members how to make comics. When Melvin’s first effort, Dennis the Toothbrush Who Wanted To Be a Dinosaur Lawyer, is judged “dumb” (it is a tad thin on plot), Li’l Petey and Molly encourage all the froglets to get over their fears by failing utterly: “Worst comic gets a prize!” yells Molly. Flippy wrings his bionic claws at the results, pronouncing them “violent,” “disgusting,” and “offensive”; The Cute, Little Fluffy Cloud of Death has Flippy calling in the medical authorities. Fortunately, Nurse Lady talks some sense into him (“Look at Shakespeare: It’s all DEATH and VIOLENCE and FART JOKES!...Take a chill pill, dude”), and the club continues, producing a legal drama, a startlingly beautiful sequence of nature photos and haiku, and sneak peeks at a buddy story, a biography, an apocalyptic thriller, and a superhero adventure. Few are “wholesome,” but all are believably childlike. Pilkey effectively mixes instruction and empowerment into the chaos, the frenetic panels (with Garibaldi contributing colors) making both immensely enjoyable.

Supa fun. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-71277-3

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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THE FIRST CAT IN SPACE ATE PIZZA

Will extragalactic rats eat the moon?

Can a cybernetic toenail clipper find a worthy purpose in the vast universe? Will the first feline astronaut ever get a slice of pizza? Read on. Reworked from the Live Cartoon series of homespun video shorts released on Instagram in 2020 but retaining that “we’re making this up as we go” quality, the episodic tale begins with the electrifying discovery that our moon is being nibbled away. Off blast one strong, silent, furry hero—“Meow”—and a stowaway robot to our nearest celestial neighbor to hook up with the imperious Queen of the Moon and head toward the dark side, past challenges from pirates on the Sea of Tranquility and a sphinx with a riddle (“It weighs a ton, but floats on air. / It’s bald but has a lot of hair.” The answer? “Meow”). They endure multiple close but frustratingly glancing encounters with pizza and finally deliver the malign, multiheaded Rat King and its toothy armies to a suitable fate. Cue the massive pizza party! Aside from one pirate captain and a general back on Earth, the human and humanoid cast in Harris’ loosely drawn cartoon panels, from the appropriately moon-faced queen on, is light skinned. Merch, music, and the original episodes are available on an associated website.

Epic lunacy. (Graphic science fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-308408-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

GHOSTS

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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