What a wag.

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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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From the Mr. Badger and Mrs. Fox series , Vol. 2

It’s exactly a year after the mixed woodland cohabitation celebrated in The Meeting (2010), and temperamental Ginger Fox has settled in nicely with her three new badger half-sibs—explaining after an exchange of insults (“Fly doody!” “Skunk fart!”) that arguing with friends is OK, but “you can argue much better with a brother. It’s natural!” Ginger’s equanimity is upset, however, first when her roving birth father pays a visit that reminds her how much parental attention she got when she was an only child, and then when two cats from town take over the tree-trunk clubhouse she and the badgers have fixed up. Despite an overt socialization agenda (“I have so many parents!” Ginger exclaims at the end), there are some amusing twists here—“Every fight you avoid is one you win,” homilizes Ginger’s strict and orderly badger dad, just before helping the young folk set up a paint trap to drive off the feline interlopers—and Tharlet’s delicately detailed panels never look crowded despite plenty of speech balloons. Above-average fare for younger graphic-fiction fans. (Graphic animal fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7613-5632-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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Stick with Kimmel’s many other, vastly superior, Hanukkah books.



A Greek boy and a Judean boy become unlikely friends at the time of the Hanukkah story.

In Jason and Jonathan’s Judea, the Greek colonizers and the Jews they rule over live in a somewhat troubled peace. They go to different schools and speak different languages, but people are allowed to live and worship as they please. Nonetheless, many Judeans (mostly illustrated with brown or olive skin and dark hair) resent the Greeks (mostly light-skinned, many with pale yellow hair). In this fraught balance, Jonathan and Jason bond over the important things in life: teaching each other slick wrestling moves, playing discus, and discussing the nature of the divine. Jonathan accompanies Jason to Greek school, while Jason joins Jonathan’s family for (somewhat anachronistic) religious celebrations. But their fragile friendship comes to an end when wicked King Antiochus blames the Jews for his own troubles. The boys are pulled into the bloody war that paves the way for the Maccabean victory and the Hanukkah miracle. An author’s note speaks to the aim of reaching for the real history behind the tropes of this most widely known Jewish holiday, but the tale still owes vastly more to myth than to history. The clunky, oddly proportioned comics panels, with blocky but movement-filled composition, don’t complement the philosophical narrative.

Stick with Kimmel’s many other, vastly superior, Hanukkah books. (historical note) (Graphic historical fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68115-571-5

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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