GABBY & GATOR

A comical and cinematic tale centers on the budding friendship between a bullied young vegetarian and a carnivorous alligator with water issues (thanks to being flushed down a toilet when small). Available for purchase and reading exclusively through the publisher’s app, this digital edition reads well enough on a tablet or PC despite being a reduced scan of the quarto paper edition. Placing his figures in clearly defined panels, Burks, an animator for Disney and other studios, uses a simply drawn cartoon style and a limited color palette to create an open, retro look suitable to the quickly moving story line. Most of the panels are wordless, and where there is dialogue it’s terse, large and legibly hand-lettered. Though two full-spread scenes require a page “turn” to view, the story is best read in portrait orientation, as all of the other panels are single-page or less, and some include written notes or printing that becomes too small to read in double-page landscape mode. Readers expecting razzle-dazzle animation should look elsewhere: The app delivers no special features beyond the ability to purchase the publisher’s manga and graphic novels in digital format. Regardless, on either paper or screen, young readers will enjoy following these unlikely partners as they help each other work through personal hang-ups while evading a Taser-wielding Animal Control officer. (iPad graphic-novel app. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7595-3145-1

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Yen Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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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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The tiny-type narrative text is hard to make out, but fans of Trondheim’s previous graphic tales will be used to his format.

MONSTER TURKEY

From the Monster series , Vol. 4

Thanks to a flow of toxic waste that turns farm animals into monsters, a family’s rural vacation takes several exciting, if wildly arbitrary turns.

In their fourth outing, Petey, Jean, their parents and their own household monster Kriss arrive as guests at a farm that seems deserted at first but soon coughs up a giant bunny, a T. Rex–sized turkey and other toothy, red-eyed horrors. Joined by the friendly local farmer, himself turned into a sasquatch with mismatched eyes, the family tracks a suspicious pipeline to a factory where the monsters turn out to be a (wait for it) tomato researcher’s experimental subjects. In Trondheim’s small, unbordered cartoon scenes, the lumpy monsters (except for Kriss, who resembles a multilimbed turquoise Barbapapa) look properly menacing. In the end, after much chasing about, they turn out to be not such bad sorts—and though some monsters die in gruesome ways, the overall effect is more comical than disturbing or scary.

The tiny-type narrative text is hard to make out, but fans of Trondheim’s previous graphic tales will be used to his format. (Graphic fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59707-349-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Papercutz

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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