GAME OVER, SUPER RABBIT BOY!

From the Press Start! series , Vol. 1

In a video game, a superpowered rabbit must rescue a singing dog that brings everyone happiness.

In the frame story, a brown-skinned human protagonist plays a video game on a handheld console evocative of the classic Nintendo Gameboy. The bulk of the book relates the game’s storyline: Animal Town is a peaceful place where everyone is delighted by Singing Dog, until the fun-hating King Viking (whose black-mustachioed, pink-skinned looks reference the Super Mario Brothers game series villain, Wario) uses his army of robots to abduct Singing Dog. To save Singing Dog—and fun—the animals send the fastest among them, Simon the Hedgehog, to get Super Rabbit Boy (who gains speed and jumping powers by eating special carrots) to save the day. The chapters take Super Rabbit Boy through video game levels, with classic, video game–style settings and enemies. Throughout the book, when the game’s player loses either a life in the game or the game entirely, the unnamed kid must choose to persevere and not give up. The storylines are differentiated by colorful art styles—cartoonish for the real world, 8-bit pixel-sprite–style for the game. The fast, repetitive plot uses basic, simple sentences and child-friendly objects of interest, such as lakes of lava, for children working on reading independence, while the nerdy in-jokes benefit adults reading with a child.

A strong series start. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-03472-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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“Ham and eggs!”—you don’t want to miss this! (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 5-7)

LET'S GET CRACKING!

From the Kung Pow Chicken series , Vol. 1

Can Kung Pow Chicken and Egg Drop beat the bad guys and be home in time for dinner?

Second-grade chicken Gordon Blue and his still partially egg-bound little brother Benedict are mild-mannered chicks until they fall into a vat of toxic sludge in their uncle Quack’s lab. Suddenly, Gordon has birdy sense that tingles when danger is near. He can flap superfast, and his clucks are louder than any chicken’s (“His bok [is] worse than his bite”). He promises to use his powers only for good (and to keep his room tidy). Since he’s never met a bad guy, he has to do normal chicken things…until everyone starts losing their feathers at the Fowl Fall Festival in Fowladelphia. Could it be Granny Goosebumps’ yucky glowing cookies? She’s making money wing over fist selling itchy sweaters to all the naked chickens. Soon Kung Pow Chicken is “locked in a battle of knits” with the nefarious Granny and her knitting needles. When she escapes, can Kung Pow Chicken overcome his self-doubt and save the City of Featherly Love? First of four to be released over the course of the next year and part of Scholastic’s Branches line of heavily illustrated easy chapter books, Marko’s debut is a perfectly puntastic page-turner. Hybrids of comics and traditional pictures, the goofy all-color illustrations propel the fast-moving, high-interest story.

“Ham and eggs!”—you don’t want to miss this! (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-61062-9

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

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“Another game called on account of spaghetti.” Aarrrgh. Or conversely, yup, git along. Good fun, regardless of the dialect.

PIRATES AT THE PLATE

Cowboys and Pirates aren’t just team names in this brangle on the base paths.

With the “score knotted at 47 runs” each in the 22nd inning, Long John Silver uncorks a long fly to center: “The Cisco Kid’s gonna have to giddy-up if he wants to catch this ball!” Using scratchboard with oil glazes, Summers portrays melodramatically posed figures in lavishly detailed costuming. He even mounts both infielders and outfielders on charging horses and gives literal expression to such terms as “on deck” (ship’s deck, that is) and “bullpen.” It looks like the stage is set for a rousing, benches-clearing brawl after Silver’s attempt to steal second base and the ensuing exchange of insults (“Yer boys play like Barbies,” sneers the Pirates’ captain, Capt. Hook). Thankfully, a summons to dinner forces the lad who has been heretofore invisibly orchestrating it all to reluctantly abandon his suddenly tiny action figures.

“Another game called on account of spaghetti.” Aarrrgh. Or conversely, yup, git along. Good fun, regardless of the dialect. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-56846-210-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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