HEIST AND SEEK

From the InvestiGators series , Vol. 6

Reptilian wisecracking sleuths return for their sixth silly adventure.

Following Braver and Boulder (2022), S.U.I.T. (Special Undercover Investigation Teams) agents Mango and Brash return to solve the case of missing masterpieces from the art museum. The museum’s fundraising gala is fast approaching, and without its beloved paintings (many with chuckle-inducing names like the Bona Lisa by Leodoggo da Vinky), it may have to close its door permanently. Mango and Brash realize this must have been an inside job. Could it have been the curator, Thelonious Snoot, a caterer with an ax to grind, an avant-garde possum artist named Panksy, or museum preparator Savanna the cheetah? With the help of his new S.M.O.C.K. (Supplementing Mango’s Originality, Creativity, and Knowledge), Mango must go even deeper undercover as artist Macaroni Ancheese to see if he can get close enough to crack this case. Green’s latest offering is a fun mystery with the series’ trademark puns and bright illustrations and enough red herrings to keep readers riveted. This is a must-read for fans of Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man books wondering what to pick up next. Though this installment falls relatively later in the series, this is a great jumping-in point for new readers that offers tantalizing tidbits that established fans will relish. Thelonious is light-skinned, while the caterer is brown-skinned; background human characters are depicted in a variety of skin tones.

A winner. (information on how to draw the characters) (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-2508-4988-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low.

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DOG MAN AND CAT KID

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 4

Recasting Dog Man and his feline ward, Li’l Petey, as costumed superheroes, Pilkey looks East of Eden in this follow-up to Tale of Two Kitties (2017).

The Steinbeck novel’s Cain/Abel motif gets some play here, as Petey, “world’s evilest cat” and cloned Li’l Petey’s original, tries assiduously to tempt his angelic counterpart over to the dark side only to be met, ultimately at least, by Li’l Petey’s “Thou mayest.” (There are also occasional direct quotes from the novel.) But inner struggles between good and evil assume distinctly subordinate roles to riotous outer ones, as Petey repurposes robots built for a movie about the exploits of Dog Man—“the thinking man’s Rin Tin Tin”—while leading a general rush to the studio’s costume department for appropriate good guy/bad guy outfits in preparation for the climactic battle. During said battle and along the way Pilkey tucks in multiple Flip-O-Rama inserts as well as general gags. He lists no fewer than nine ways to ask “who cut the cheese?” and includes both punny chapter titles (“The Bark Knight Rises”) and nods to Hamiltonand Mary Poppins. The cartoon art, neatly and brightly colored by Garibaldi, is both as easy to read as the snappy dialogue and properly endowed with outsized sound effects, figures displaying a range of skin colors, and glimpses of underwear (even on robots).

More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low. (drawing instructions) (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-93518-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

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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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