A skeleton yearns to find a friend.

In this middle-grade graphic novel by a father-daughter duo, an interred skeleton awakens after an unnamed magical item lands near its resting place, leaching power into the ground. Speaking in appropriately Shakespearean language, Yorick proclaims: “Alack, there is but one thing I desire. / A friend.” Shortly thereafter, the skeleton is exhumed by an adorable gray dog who wants to nibble his tibia (to which Yorick protests, “Oh biteth not me so, thou foul beast!”). Yorick attempts to shoo the dog away but reconsiders, hoping its canine cuteness will help win him some friends. After a handful of bumbling, failed attempts send humans running away screaming, Yorick gives up. But Bones the dog wordlessly (though not always silently) shows the loquacious skeleton that a real friend is closer than he may have realized. Told in a three-act structure, the Tankards’ debut collaboration is a delightfully quirky and lively introduction to Shakespearean conventions and iambic pentameter. Pairing the Elizabethan-era vernacular with visuals works well, and once they become accustomed to the syntax, those unfamiliar with the Bard will be able to enjoy this tale of seeking acceptance and friendship. Jeremy Tankard’s full-color panels blaze vibrantly, defined with heavy black outlines that give this an easily recognizable panache. The few humans that Yorick and Bones encounter present with a range of skin tones.

Fun, forsooth. (Graphic fantasy. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-285430-8

Page Count: 144

Publisher: HarperAlley

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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This kid-friendly satire ably sets claws into a certain real-life franchise.


From the Bad Kitty (chapter book) series

A trip to the Love Love Angel Kitty World theme park (“The Most Super Incredibly Happy Place on Earth!”) turns out to be an exercise in lowered expectations…to say the least.

When Uncle Murray wins a pair of free passes it seems at first like a dream come true—at least for Kitty, whose collection of Love Love Kitty merch ranges from branded underwear to a pink chainsaw. But the whole trip turns into a series of crises beginning with the (as it turns out) insuperable challenge of getting a cat onto an airplane, followed by the twin discoveries that the hotel room doesn’t come with a litter box and that the park doesn’t allow cats. Even kindhearted Uncle Murray finds his patience, not to say sanity, tested by extreme sticker shock in the park’s gift shop and repeated exposures to Kitty World’s literally nauseating theme song (notation included). He is not happy. Fortunately, the whole cloying enterprise being a fiendish plot to make people so sick of cats that they’ll pick poultry as favorite pets instead, the revelation of Kitty’s feline identity puts the all-chicken staff to flight and leaves the financial coffers plucked. Uncle Murray’s White, dumpy, middle-aged figure is virtually the only human one among an otherwise all-animal cast in Bruel’s big, rapidly sequenced, and properly comical cartoon panels.

This kid-friendly satire ably sets claws into a certain real-life franchise. (Graphic satire. 8-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20808-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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Aimed straight at proto-Goosebumps fans, this formulaic series opener pits two 9-year-olds against a great white shark with legs. Having lost his bike in a lake thanks to the latest hare-brained scheme of his impulsive cousin Henry, bookish Keats reluctantly agrees to finance a replacement by earning some money taking on odd jobs at a spooky local mansion. The prosaic task of weeding the garden quickly turns into an extended flight through a series of magical rooms after a shark monster rises out of the ground and gives chase. Dashing from one narrow squeak to the next, the lads encounter a kitchen with an invisible "sink," a giant vomiting bookworm in the library, a carpet pattern in the hall that (literally) bites and, most usefully, a magic wand that they get to keep (setting up future episodes) after spelling the monster away. Tilted points of view give the occasional illustrations more energy than the labored plot ever musters, and the characters rarely show even two dimensions. Fledgling readers will do better in the hands of Jim Benton’s Franny K. Stein series or Bruce and Katherine Coville’s Moongobble and Me books. (Horror. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 26, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86675-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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