A sitcom series between paper covers, offering familiar situations, occasional chuckles and a (not entirely) clueless young...

THUNDER HORSE

From the Ariol series , Vol. 2

More mild mischief from a bookish donkey and his porcine best bud.

The book begins with a tongue-in-cheek quest to complete his collection of beloved superhero Thunder Horse stickers with the elusive #128 (“I bought four packs yesterday. That’s too much. I have to get down to one pack a day”) and ends with Ariol in such rapturous absorption in the new Thunder Horse novel that he misses favorite bookstore owner Mr. Begossian being taken away in an ambulance. Other high and low spots in Ariol’s life range from an embarrassing but informative show and tell of his sonograms at school to a satisfying bit of flirting with classmate Petula. These and other experiences, such as fretting over a scheduled booster shot and taking a long train ride with his hyperactive friend Ramono, provide opportunities aplenty for irritating grown-ups, exchanging banter and suffering comical mishaps. Small of stature but depicted with wide eyes magnified by outsized glasses, Ariol is easy to spot among the diverse, all-animal cast populating Boutavant’s spacious, cleanly drawn cartoon panels.

A sitcom series between paper covers, offering familiar situations, occasional chuckles and a (not entirely) clueless young protagonist. (Graphic novel. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 4, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59707-412-4

Page Count: 124

Publisher: Papercutz

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2013

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A classic story of outsiders making friends—with a little something more.

LONG DISTANCE

After moving to a new city, a girl attends a wilderness camp to help her make new friends.

When astronomy-obsessed 9-year-old Vega’s dad Wes gets a new job, the family moves from Portland to Seattle. Vega is not happy about this change and doesn’t want to leave her best friend behind, worrying they will grow apart. Vega’s dad Javi thinks making new friends will help her adjust, so he signs her up for Camp Very Best Friend, which is designed to help introverted local children build new friendships. Vega is not exactly eager to go but makes a deal with Wes, agreeing to try out camp as long as he tries to make a new friend too. It quickly becomes clear that this is no ordinary outdoor adventure, and Vega and her fellow campers try to figure out what is really going on. The story smoothly incorporates STEM facts with insets on the page to define and highlight terms or tools. An unexpected twist toward the end of this fast-paced adventure that reveals the truth behind the camp will surprise readers. The clean, bright artwork is enhanced by panels of varying shapes and clear, easy-to-follow speech bubbles. Race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation are not explicitly addressed; characters’ names and physical appearances indicate a broadly diverse cast starting with brown-skinned Vega and her two dads.

A classic story of outsiders making friends—with a little something more. (Graphic fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5566-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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NIGHTLIGHTS

When a young girl’s imagination and creativity are co-opted by a mysterious new friend, she must find a way to regain what is rightfully hers.

Sandy is a brown-skinned, dark-haired girl with big black eyes and a vivid imagination. At night, as she goes to sleep, she catches the lights bobbing about in her room and turns them into anything she imagines. The next day is spent drawing the fantastical creatures from her dreams, much to the detriment of her schoolwork. When a tall, pale-skinned girl with purple hair befriends her, Sandy is excited, though there is something eerie and unsettling about her new companion. Her excitement soon turns to anger as Morfie enters her imaginative nighttime world and tries to take it over. Readers will cheer at the clever way in which Sandy regains control. Using a lovely palette that includes a liberal amount of rich, dark purple, Colombian-born Alvarez has drawn a world that harks back to her native Bogotá and days in Catholic school, evoking it in wonderful detail and atmosphere. Her pages are not crowded yet are filled with details that will engage readers. The beings that inhabit Sandy’s nighttime world are simply delightful. The album size, cloth spine binding, and spot gloss on the cover are the icing on the cake of this beautiful graphic novel.

A winner. (Graphic fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-910620-13-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Nobrow Ltd.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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