[We won’t go over this year’s nominees for the Ursa Major Awards — there are other sites that have done that better already — but we will say we are more than honored to once again be nominated in the category of Best Anthropomorphic Magazine for 2016. Our humble thanks to all of you, our readers!]
Author Douglas Wood’s most famous creation is Old Turtle, an elderly reptile who guides those with philosophical and religious questions towards enlightenment… in ways that help to heal our species and our planet. Now celebrating 25 years since the release of the original Old Turtle picture book, Mr. Wood and artist Greg Ruth have brought us Old Turtle: Questions of the Heart, a new and larger hardcover book from Scholastic Press. “Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? How do we find happiness? Once again, Old Turtle’s wise answers offer readers of all ages inspiration, solace, and the most important gift of all — hope.” Pre-order it now, or look for it at the end of March.
image c. 2017 Scholastic Press
Here’s what publisher First Second have to say about their new prequel book Animal Crackers — Circus Mayhem: “The wacky, high-action graphic novel companion to Animal Crackers, Scott Christian Sava’s highly-anticipated animated feature film. Buffalo Bob’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Animal Circus is famous for its jump-roping giraffe, tangoing lion, and knife-throwing elephant. But they have to be fakes, right? Owen is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. When he visits the circus he discovers that his uncle and, coincidentally, all of the animals, are missing. It can only be the work of Buffalo Bob’s sideshow rival: Contorto. Owen stumbles upon the one thing that can save the day: Buffalo Bob’s box of animal crackers. But these aren’t any ordinary cookies: One bite and you’re transformed into a circus animal!” Look for it in hardcover later this month, or you can read all about it over on Goodreads.
image c. 2017 First Second
We could not make this stuff up if we wanted to, folks. Mickey’s Inferno. Yes: The scary portion of Dante’s Divine Comedy as re-told in full-color graphic novel format by Mickey and his friends. And Papercutz got Disney’s okay with this! It’s written by Guido Martina (who is a well-known creator of Disney material in Italy), illustrated by Angelo Bioletta, and available in softcover and hardcover editions — on the shelves right now. Gosh, is Purgatory next?
image c. 2017 Papercutz
Speaking of Keenspot: Thomas Fischbach, creator of the Ursa Major Award winning on-line comic Twokinds, brings us into the creation of his realm with the release of The Art and Evolution of Twokinds — newly available in hardcover. “Deluxe full color hardcover artbook exploring the art and evolution of Twokinds, the wildly popular webcomic following the adventures of a lone mage with no memory of his past and the beautiful tiger girl that captures his heart.” Nearly 100 pages in full color. Be warned though: Keenspot says they’re going fast!
image c. 2016 Keenspot Entertainment
Feral Planet is a new publishing company started by Michael Friedlander, the former CEO of FPG Inc. (Guardians). Their first project was successfully fired up on Kickstarter: Goliath, a fully-painted story book written by Mr. Friedlander and illustrated by Mike Ploog (famous for his many designs for Hollywood movies). “The story follows the adventures of a small family of prehistoric people named the Ty clan. The Ty clan live in very difficult times and face incredible dangers every day. To survive, they must embark upon an epic journey to find a new world and the peace they have always dreamed of. They find great strength and determination in their belief in magnificent stories passed down through the generations that speak of giant white guardians that protect and watch over them. As the story unfolds, we will find out if these are just age-old tales the clan elders tell while sitting around the fire or if these great guardians prove to be so much more…” It’s available to order in hardcover over at Previews, and it’s expected to hit the shelves before the end of December.
image c. 2016 Feral Planet
World-famous author James Patterson (Zoo) has returned with a new novel for young readers: Word of Mouse, written with the help of and illustrated by Joe Sutphin. It’s the story of a very special mouse. “What makes Isaiah so unique? First, his fur is as blue as the sky–which until recently was something he’d never seen, but had read all about. That’s right–Isaiah can read, and write. He can also talk to humans…if any of them are willing to listen! After a dramatic escape from a mysterious laboratory, Isaiah is separated from his ‘mischief’ (which is the word for a mouse family), and has to use his special skills to survive in the dangerous outdoors, and hopefully find his missing family. But in a world of cruel cats, hungry owls, and terrified people, it’s hard for a young, lone mouse to make it alone. When he meets an equally unusual and lonely human girl named Hailey, the two soon learn that true friendship can transcend all barriers.” Word of Mouse will be available in hardcover this December.
image c. 2016 Jimmy Patterson
How did we ever miss these? Katherine Applegate is a writer of books for young readers, who has some interesting anthropomorphic credentials. The One and Only Ivan is a Newberry Award-winning novel from 2013 about a very special gorilla. “Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated novel is told from the point of view of Ivan himself. Having spent twenty-seven years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.” Take a look over at Amazon. Then more recently, and even more anthropomorphic perhaps, there’s Crenshaw from 2015. “Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again… Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?” Guess we’ll find out soon enough. It’s also available at Amazon.
image c. 2016 Feiwel & Friends
Tundra Books (an imprint of Penguin/Random House) bring us Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea. It’s the first book in a new series of graphic novels for the younger set, written and illustrated by Ben Clanton. “Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do they love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together.” It’s available now at Penguin’s web site, in hardcover and trade paperback editions.
image c. 2016 Tundra Books
Magnetic Press (who seem to be very busy this year!) have a new hardcover illustrated book out called Centurion & Emperador. “At the Gamble Ranch, all of the animals have a special talent. All of them except for Centurion and Emperador, two baby horses delivered by a couple of confused storks lost in a storm. When the ranch owners decide they’ll grow up to be race horses, Centurion and Emperador do their best to be the best. But what they prove to be best at is quite different from racing… An adorable story about finding your passion, based on the real-life dancing horses of Gamble Ranch.” It’s written by none other than actor & comedian Rob Schneider (Norm of the North) and his wife, actress & writer Patricia Schneider. The full-color illustration is by Disney and Marvel artist Francisco Herrera (Deadpool). Magnetic Press has a preview.
image c. 2016 Magnetic Press