Girl power at its best. A sure winner! (Graphic novel. 3-12)

LITTLE ROBOT

Possibilities abound for a small, brown-skinned girl with time, a tool belt, and a penchant for urban adventure.

From the imaginative creator of Zita the Spacegirl comes this techy take on a warm friendship born in a junkyard. The short, round-faced protagonist escapes from a window of her trailer home clad only in a white nightshirt and heads for a neighbor’s swingset, then to the junkyard—her daily routine, apparently. Unfettered and unsupervised by adults (or other humans), the protagonist dons her tool belt and soon discovers a little broken blue robot that has lost its way. Never at a loss for how to fix any machine, she tinkers with the robot, and suddenly, she has a running buddy. Together, they explore frogs, cats, sunsets, and more. But when the factory misses Little Robot and sends a large, scary-looking yellow robot to retrieve it, the main character needs more than a wrench to save her new friend and friendship. This delightful, nearly wordless graphic novel portrays a kid with gumption enough to take on big business and smarts enough to advise the factory’s fix-it robot on repairs even though she just might be too young for kindergarten. Despite having little material means and few human connections, this kid creates life in the inanimate and fosters community where none could exist before.

Girl power at its best. A sure winner! (Graphic novel. 3-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62672-080-0

Page Count: 144

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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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 Mancomics 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 witty addition to the long-running series.

THE DEEP END

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 15

The Wimpy Kid hits the road.

The Heffley clan has been stuck living together in Gramma’s basement for two months, waiting for the family home to be repaired, and the constant togetherness has been getting on everybody’s nerves. Luckily Greg’s Uncle Gary has a camper waiting for someone to use it, and so the Heffleys set off on the open road looking for an adventurous vacation, hoping the changing scenery will bring a spark back to the family unit. The winding road leads the Heffleys to a sprawling RV park, a setting teeming with possibilities for Greg to get up to his usual shenanigans. Greg’s snarky asides and misadventures continue to entertain. At this point the Wimpy Kid books run like a well-oiled machine, paced perfectly with witty lines, smart gags, and charming cartoons. Kinney knows just where to put a joke, the precise moment to give a character shading, and exactly how to get the narrative rolling, spinning out the oddest plot developments. The appreciation Kinney has for these characters seeps through the novels, endearing the Heffleys to readers even through this title, the 15th installment in a franchise boasting spinoffs, movies, and merchandise. There may come a time when Greg and his family overstay their welcome, but thankfully that day still seems far off.

A witty addition to the long-running series. (Humor. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4868-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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