Endlessly wacky; fast-moving antics and incessant fretting that would make Chicken Little look mellow give this familiar...

NOODLEHEAD NIGHTMARES

Anthropomorphic noodles worry and fret over a series of bedtimes and bad dreams.

Mac and Mac are two noodleheads, literally: they are noodle-shaped boys with nothing inside their heads. As might be expected, the two Macs are not particularly bright, and consequently they get into all types of goofy gaffes. The tubular tots initially decide to sleep outside because they hate making their beds, despite their mother’s bribe of a pie. Nighttime sounds scare them so much their legs tangle comically, and ultimately they go back inside. At least now they get pie. However, mischievous Meatball is also out for their confection—and gets it. Finally, one of the Macs loses his pillow and tries to compensate for its loss by bringing all sorts of odd objects—like a wooden chest and some food—into bed with him, with disastrous results. Funny nightmares punctuate each episode. Short chapters with large, brightly hued panels and spacious speech bubbles make this an easy choice for emerging readers. Fans of Arnold's previous work, particularly his Fly Guy series, will recognize his trademark artistic style and gravitate toward this. Opening notes in microscopic print explain the folk origins of each short chapter.

Endlessly wacky; fast-moving antics and incessant fretting that would make Chicken Little look mellow give this familiar topic a fresh feel. (Graphic early reader. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3566-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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What a wag.

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DOG MAN

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 1

What do you get from sewing the head of a smart dog onto the body of a tough police officer? A new superhero from the incorrigible creator of Captain Underpants.

Finding a stack of old Dog Man comics that got them in trouble back in first grade, George and Harold decide to craft a set of new(ish) adventures with (more or less) improved art and spelling. These begin with an origin tale (“A Hero Is Unleashed”), go on to a fiendish attempt to replace the chief of police with a “Robo Chief” and then a temporarily successful scheme to make everyone stupid by erasing all the words from every book (“Book ’Em, Dog Man”), and finish off with a sort of attempted alien invasion evocatively titled “Weenie Wars: The Franks Awaken.” In each, Dog Man squares off against baddies (including superinventor/archnemesis Petey the cat) and saves the day with a clever notion. With occasional pauses for Flip-O-Rama featurettes, the tales are all framed in brightly colored sequential panels with hand-lettered dialogue (“How do you feel, old friend?” “Ruff!”) and narrative. The figures are studiously diverse, with police officers of both genders on view and George, the chief, and several other members of the supporting cast colored in various shades of brown. Pilkey closes as customary with drawing exercises, plus a promise that the canine crusader will be further unleashed in a sequel.

What a wag. (Graphic fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-58160-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Two delightfully dense heroes bring folk tales into the 21st century, and young readers are all the richer for it.

NOODLEHEADS SEE THE FUTURE

Two thickheaded macaroni noodles prove the old adage: a fool and his firewood are soon parted.

Fools have been called “noodleheads” for centuries, but until recently few have represented the term quite so literally. Mac and Mac aren’t the brightest pieces of pasta in the world, but their hearts are in the right place. Here, the two decide to help their mama out by gathering firewood in hopes that she’ll bake them a cake. As they are attempting to cut the very branch they’re sitting on, a passing meatball points out that they are mere minutes away from bruised bottoms. When his words come to pass, our heroes decide the meatball is clairvoyant and demand to know their future. Drawing on and smoothly weaving together a variety of folk tales, the brief graphic novel describes how its obtuse protagonists single-mindedly seek cake, even as they anticipate death, purchase “firewood seeds” (aka acorns), and accidentally dig their mother a garden. Emergent readers will appreciate the simple text, short chapters, and comics-inspired paneled illustrations. Adults will appreciate the authors’ note, which goes into some detail about each chapter’s folk origins.

Two delightfully dense heroes bring folk tales into the 21st century, and young readers are all the richer for it. (Graphic early reader. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3673-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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