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Dog Gone… Over the Rainbow

We got this straight from Animation World Network: “Animal Logic has announced that the next project produced in their Vancouver studio will be Toto, the animated musical adaptation of Michael Morpurgo and Emma Chichester Clark’s 2017 book, Toto: The Dog-Gone Amazing Story of the Wizard of Oz. A family film told from the perspective of Dorothy’s beloved companion, the screenplay was written by John August, with two-time Tony nominee Alex Timbers attached to direct… The Vancouver studio is currently in production on an animated film based on the DC Super Pets franchise, directed by Jared Stern and set for release in 2022.” Check out the original Toto book from Harper Collins.

image c. 2021 Harper Collins

Ally and Her Allies

Another graphic novel for young readers, this one written and illustrated by Norm Feuti. “Ally the alligator is perfectly happy being alone . . . until one day a noisy bird named Beak lands on her snout. Beak thinks Ally is lonely and needs a friend. He has all sorts of friendship goals in mind, like riding bikes together, going to the movies together, and even solving mysteries together! But when a Long-Billed Party Pooper crashes Beak’s nest-warming party, Ally decides to show Beak something important to her: Sticking up for what’s right.” Beak & Ally Volume 1: Unlikely Friends is available now in hardcover from Harper Collins.

image c. 2021 Harper Collins

Dogged Determination

Hound Heroes is a new superhero graphic novel series for some of the youngest readers, available now from Scholastic. “Meet the Hound Heroes: Fearless Captain Chihuahua, the big-hearted Great, Great Dane, super-speedy Poodle Girl, cyborg pup Power Pug, and the loveable yet irritating Super Sheep Dog. Together they make up earth’s furriest heroes! In this first adventure, the Hound Heroes’ origin story is revealed when a spaceship crashes in their backyard, giving them super powers! But they aren’t the only ones who benefit — neighborhood alleycat The Claw also gains powers, and she only wants one thing: To destory the Hound Heroes!” Okay, so it’s more for “dog people” than it is for “cat people” — unless you’re into super-villains perhaps! Hound Heroes Volume 1: Beware The Claw is written and illustrated by Todd Goldman.

image c. 2021 Scholastic

Down Down, Down in the Water

Bound Tales is an imprint of the ever-reliable Thurston Howl Publications. One of their recurring titles is the anthology called SPECIES… and the latest release is about none “otter” than everyone’s favorite water-weasels. “SPECIES: Otters showcases drama, action, and adventure. Otters construct planet-circling water slides, uncover covert knowledge sunk to the bottom of a river, and confront what it means to be an otter. With stories by Frances Pauli, Mary E. Lowd, and Madison Keller, this anthology invites you to dive into masterfully crafted anthropomorphic fiction!” Edited by Significant Otter — of course. You can find out more over at the Storenvy page.

image c. 2021 Thurston Howl Publications

Got a Snail of Tale to Tell Ya, Lads

Max Lang and Magic Light Pictures made a name for themselves more than ten years ago with an animated adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s picture book The Gruffalo. (Soon after, we and everyone else were talking about the film!) Well nothing breeds success like success, so now Magic Light is back with a new stop-motion/CGI adaptation of the author’s 2003 book The Snail and the Whale. “The film’s remarkably realistic and vibrant animation begins with a tiny peach-colored snail who longs to journey outside the confines of her seaport-adjacent rock home and see the depths of the sea and vastness of the wide world. Writing a note on her rock in glistening snail slime that she’s looking to hitch a ride around the world, the snail is visited by a large humpback whale who offers her a ride on his tail for the adventure of a lifetime. As the snail and the whale encounter warm beachside sunsets, brisk mountain ranges, rainbow reefs as well as dangerous storms and sinister sharks, the snail has an existential awakening about her place in the world and wonders what her purpose could be as a small creature on such a large planet.” Animation World Network has a whole lot more, including previews and a look behind the scenes.

image c. 2021 Magic Light Pictures

Yip Yip, Yip Yip, Yip Yip Yip

It’s nice to see James Kochalka back around — though perhaps in a bit less of an adult vein than the last time we heard from him! Banana Fox #1: The Secret Sour Society is a new full-color graphic novel from Scholastic: “The great detective Banana Fox is called back to duty to find a missing turtle. But the deeper he digs, the more he discovers, and it’s worse than he thought! The Secret Sour Society is back, and they’re mixing up a bunch of trouble. Can Banana Fox and his sidekick, Flashlight, put an end to the Secret Sour Society once and for all?” Find out in hardcover or paperback.

image c. 2021 Scholastic

Young Lady, Meet the Monsters

Gert and the Sacred Stones is a new full-color graphic novel by Marco Rocchi and Francesca Carita, translated and imported by Dark Horse Press. It goes like this: “This timely tale of an endless war between humans and nature follows young orphan Gert, whose land is shrouded in a thick fog hiding ferocious, fantastical animals that besiege her village. Gert sets out to make sure no one else suffers what she has as a result of the war, but to do this she’ll have to do what is forbidden of young women like her: become a warrior. Unfazed, Gert sneaks into the initiation test, beginning an adventure that will prove to be about much more than revenge. Gert’s journey will teach her to accept hard truths, rethink the glorification of war and violence, and prove if she can be the unlikely hero to re-imagine her people’s future.” That story description doesn’t say much about Gert’s anthropomorphic content… but the front cover art sure does! Seems like this is one of those fantastic tales about a human that actually features quite a few not-humans. And we are there for it.

image c. 2021 Dark Horse Press

Move, Canine. Move!

Continuing on the doggie train… Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman is a cherished book from our childhood for many of us. Well now Dreamworks Animation (along with WildBrain) have created a brand new animated series based on the book, and brought it to Netflix. (Neat trick, given that the book had nothing resembling a plot…) It goes like this: “Go, Dog. Go!  follows 6-year-old Tag Barker on her adventures in the city of Pawston, a fun-loving community of dogs on the go. Tag is a skilled mechanic and loves anything that goes. With her ingenuity and creativity, Tag can go as far as any plan will take her with her best friend Scooch Pooch by her side.” Animation World Network has more information, plus you can check out the official web site from Dreamworks.

image c. 2021 Dreamworks Animation

How ’bout them Broncos?

How the fur did we miss this? Oh well, here comes the second one already… “FOX Entertainment has released the second of two new football-oriented Dogs Playing Poker 2D animated shorts they’ve produced with Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominee Denis Leary, based on the Icebox animated series Poker Night, inspired by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge’s iconic 1900s art series, ‘Dogs Playing Poker’. The latest Dogs Playing Poker short aired this past Saturday during FOX’s NFL coverage. Dogs Playing Poker centers on five dog friends – Brownie (Leary), Daphne (Elaine Hendrix, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll), Ditka (Roy Wood, Jr., The Daily Show), Froyo (Bobby Kelly, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll) and Stan (Adam Ferrara, Rescue Me) – as they banter about football and other timely sports topics.” Animation World Network has more info and some previews too.

image c. 2021 FOX Entertainment