Raucous fun at the sound of midnight.

LIVI & NATE

A WINTER'S NIGHT

From the Livi & Nate series

Nighttime dreams ward off the pull of deep sleep in Hakkola and Ahokoivu’s jubilant graphic novel.

Amid the thick snow, Livi and Nate play, sled, toss snowballs, and tease. Grandpa struggles to continue shoveling, so Mom calls everyone in from the cold. After a bit of tidying up, some hot cocoa, and a bath, it’s time for bed. Noises from outside frighten Livi, who wakes up an annoyed Nate. Could it be the snow animals they made earlier? Mom reassures them that everything will be OK (cue Livi: “Make sure you check!”), and Livi falls asleep and dreams of a tea party. Oh no! A snow bear named Teddy interrupts the tea and cakes, asking for Livi and Nate’s help! Using some quick wits and a very long scarf, Livi saves Daphne the dragon from incoming spring. The dream rolls happily along until a “BLING” wakes Livi up. What could it be this time? The ensuing narrative follows a similar pattern: sleep, dream, noise, and investigation. The Finnish creators’ words convey a certain degree of playfulness that cements the bond between Livi and Nate above everything else. Similarly, their artwork—saturated with sheets of colors, arranged in spreads of sequential actions with occasionally dissonant frames—exemplifies the pale-skinned pair’s nervy energy, even if readers may get lost among the hijinks at times.

Raucous fun at the sound of midnight. (Graphic novel. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77147-372-9

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

BAD KITTY GETS A PHONE (GRAPHIC NOVEL)

A craving for the latest tech leads to cat-astrophe in this new addition to the Bad Kitty series.

With her heart set on owning a cellphone, anthropomorphic house cat Kitty plows through three solid months of chores without complaining before her owners reluctantly grant her fervent wish. Then things go rapidly downhill. She becomes obsessed with violent mobile games, gets catfished (no pun intended), divulges too much personal information online, becomes consumed with rage at cyberbullies, and grows listless from excessive screen time. Only after the intervention of a Sphynx cat named Strange Kitty and a monthlong technology fast enforced by her owners does Kitty come to understand that while smartphones are fun, they can also be a serious distraction from real life and true friends. Using a digestible graphic-novel format, the book tackles internet safety and digital media literacy with purr-fect aplomb. The “Uncle Murray’s Fun Facts” section serves as a deep dive into the differences between facts and opinions, and many of Kitty’s quirky feline behaviors ring true. It’s unfortunate that the word lame—a disability-related term with negative connotations—is used by the internet trolls who deride the video Kitty makes and posts on “ViewTube.” Occasional misstep aside, Kitty’s tribulations provide ample fodder for this instructive and amusing tale.

A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly. (Graphic novel. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-74996-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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