For readers who appreciate the goofy.

TWO DOGS IN A TRENCH COAT GO TO SCHOOL

From the Two Dogs in a Trench Coat series , Vol. 1

Giggle-inducing shenanigans ensue when two loyal dogs hatch a plan to save their human boy from school.

Waldo loves food, Sassy loves naps, and they both love Stewart and want to rescue him from that horrible, boring place called school, which makes Stewart smell like “a weird mixture of boredom and anxiety.” The intrepid pooches commence with an operation they code name Pepperoni. Under the titular trench coat, they disguise themselves as a human to infiltrate Bea Arthur Memorial Elementary School. Bulldog Sassy forms the bottom half, while terrier Waldo, who can speak Human, stands on her shoulders. As new student Salty Woofadogington from Liver, Ohio, the dogs discover that school is great: They get to eat sloppy Joes, play Frisbee, and sing (read: howl) in music class. They fool everyone except Stewart, who’s lucky Waldo and Sassy love school; he doesn’t even have a topic for a project that’s due tomorrow. Waldo and Sassy fly into action. They have the perfect subject: squirrels—dogs are squirrel experts, after all. The boisterous third-person narration plays with typography: All the dogs’ favorite foods (just about every possible comestible, including carrots) are in bold text, while Waldo’s dialogue as Salty is in a faux typewritten face. The tale is further enlivened by the cartoonish black-and-white illustrations, which depict Stewart with paper-white skin, but some secondary characters have dark skin, notably Salty’s teacher, Ms. Twohey, who is not entirely convinced by her new student.

For readers who appreciate the goofy. (Fantasy. 7-12)

Pub Date: May 29, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-18951-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

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THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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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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