Reaches great heights of humor—of course.

MOTHERING HEIGHTS

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 10

"Love is something eternal. It may change in aspect, but not in essence." Quoting Vincent Van Gogh in its epigraph, this latest adventure in the Dog Man saga ramps the previous installment’s love theme up to 11. From the nascent romance of Chief and Nurse Lady through the ever evolving familial bond between Petey and Li’l Petey to some begrudgingly partnered cats in crime, the story doles out the sap more gleefully than a maple tree in spring—but never at the expense of the action-packed shenanigans so characteristic of the series. The villains of the hour (a pair of evil, sentient, mobile sippy cups) are realized with gusto and panache, with almost a third of the book and a great deal of ensemble help devoted to the epic battle. Indeed, the series seems en route to becoming more of an ensemble affair as it progresses, an unexpected but not unwelcome development. True to form, Petey’s arc metes out a dose of sobering reality; the overbearing societal forces keeping him chained to the life of a criminal are played dramatically against the redemptive power of forgiveness and love. Striking color, interactive pages, drawing tutorials, and a plethora of laugh-out-loud moments all work to keep readers’ attention on a tight leash. Of especial note is the liberal use of increasingly bizarre onomatopoeia, several instances of which contain amusing pop-culture references. Human characters are diverse. Reaches great heights of humor—of course.  (Graphic adventure. 7-18)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-68045-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2021

Did you like this book?

What a wag.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more