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Bird

High-Flying Adventure

The Sheep, The Rooster, and The Duck is the oh-so-innocent sounding title of a very unusual novel for young readers written and illustrated by Matt Phelan. “The very first passengers to ride in a hot-air balloon were a sheep, a rooster, and a duck in 1783. And while hot-air balloons are indeed wondrous, ten-year-old Emile is too busy being the fastidious caretaker of ambassador Benjamin Franklin’s château in Paris to think much about them. But soon, young Emile finds himself right in the middle of a sinister plot. And right in the middle of the secret headquarters for France’s undercover guardians — the very same sheep, rooster, and duck that piloted the first hot-air balloon. If Emile can muster his courage and be bold, he may be the key to helping the heroes save both Benjamin Franklin and the world.” Find out more in hardcover from Harper Collins.

image c. 2022 Harper Collins

Owl’s Well That Ends Well

We haven’t discussed it much, but since its creation in 2019 the “2.5D” animated series Odo has racked up more than one nomination for the Annie Awards. Here’s what Animation World Network said about it recently: “Odo, in which a diminutive, but determined, young owl demonstrates that there’s nothing you can’t do if you set your mind to it. Intended for kids aged three to five, Odo is a Polish-Northern Irish co-production that was designed and animated in the Letko studio in Warsaw. The series, which had its US premiere in December 2021 on HBO Max’s Cartoonito, has already won the hearts of young viewers in 151 countries… In the leafy playground of Forest Camp for Young Birds – whose diverse population of feathered creatures includes silly chickens, cheeky toucans, harmonious canaries, and a vain peacock, all under the loving and watchful supervision of Camp Leader, a supremely capable and good-natured eagle – Odo, with the help of his best friend Doodle (a thoughtful little bird of unknown species) positively tackles every challenge, no matter how big.”

image c. Cartoonito

Watch The Skies!

Wow, the things you miss if you blink… Things like Carriers, a new full-color comic series from Red 5 Comics. “Fable, Gladius, Cherrybomb, Dark Dove: No one has heard of these brave heroes… yet… but they are the only thing standing between the citizens of New York and the unseen terrors that lurk all around them. A band of weaponized carrier pigeons, they soar the night sky looking for new threats and find their largest one yet when the Croc King comes climbing up out of the New York sewer!” See? It’s written by Ben Ferrari and Erica J. Heflin, with art by Jim O’Riley (no relation!) and Elias Martin.

image c. 2022 Red 5 Comics

More Chickens, More Dog

There’s a new article at Animation World Network that was kind enough to let us know about the latest upcoming films from Aardman Animation — courtesy of Netflix, of course. Some highlights: “Netflix and Aardman made two major announcements today, giving us key details on the sequel to Chicken Run, and on a new Wallace & Gromit feature being made by series creator Nick Park. Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget is the official title of director Sam Fell’s (Flushed Away, ParaNorman) much-anticipated sequel to Chicken Run, which in 2000 became the highest-grossing stop-motion animated film of all time. The new film will hit Netflix exclusively in 2023. Ginger and Rocky, the first film’s plucky protagonists, will be voiced by Thandie Newton and Zachary Levi, respectively… In this chapter of the characters’ saga, Ginger and Rocky have built a peaceful island sanctuary for their flock after escaping the clutches of Tweedy’s farm, and they’ve hatched a little girl named Molly. But back in the human world, their fellow chickens are faced with a new existential threat — forcing the feathered heroes to sacrifice their freedom to bring them to safety.” And there’s more: “Park’s forthcoming film does not yet have a title… In this new installment of the iconic series, ‘Gromit’s concern that Wallace has become over-dependent on his inventions proves justified, when Wallace invents a ‘smart gnome’ that seems to develop a mind of its own. As events spiral out of control, it falls to Gromit to put aside his qualms and battle sinister forces… or Wallace may never be able to invent again!'” We look forward to both!

image c. 2022 Aardman Animation

Your Pet and You

Happy New Year! And here’s some more cool stuff we found last year at the Los Angeles Comic Con. Cloris is an artist from Southern California who’s been making the convention scene for just a few years now. She specializes in custom pet portraits, but lately she’s branched out into creating knick-knacks (key chains, stickers, and more) based on all (and we mean all!) of the various dog and cat breeds out there, as well as lots of birds. Her web site (cloriscreates) explains it all, and includes a link to her Etsy store too.

image c. 2022 by cloriscreates.com

Look! Up in the Sky!

More natural education for kids, cleverly disguised as a superhero adventure comic. Winged Heroes: For All Birdkind is a new “science graphic novel” written by Mya Thompson and illustrated by Virginia Green. “This is the story of Emilio, an ordinary kid who just happens to be a pigeon. When life gets him down, he looks to his favorite comic book heroes for answers-The Winged Heroes. No matter what, they always find a way to save birdkind with their amazing superpowers and daring missions. So why can’t he score even a small crust of bread at the park? Join Emilio on a journey to discover his own powers in a world of challenges.” Barnes & Noble has a more more detailed description.

image c. 2021 Cornell Lab Publishing

Big Bird and Little Bird (It’s Relative)

Here’s a graphic novel series we came across, for young readers and fans of the feathery folk. Arlo and Pips is written and illustrated by Elise Gravel. “Like most crows, Arlo has a big brain. But Arlo has something else: a little pal who’s not afraid to tell him when he’s being insufferable! In the first of three episodes, a battle of the brains and bird-to-bird banter soon turns into an unexpected friendship. Arlo and Pips’ adventures include a visit the big city and the beach on their hunt for shiny things and French fries. Cool crow facts are included throughout the book.” Check out this series from Harper Alley.

image c. 2021 Harper Alley

Feathers and Fuzz

Aardman Animations are coming back, with an unusual entry in their portfolio this time. Once again it’s stop motion animation — but in this one the characters are made of felt. Here’s what Animation World Network said: “Netflix has just dropped first look images and a teaser trailer for the upcoming stop-motion animation musical holiday special, Robin Robin, which will debut November 27. The special is produced by Oscar-winning Aardman Animations, stop-motion pioneers known for their animated movies starring fan favorite characters including Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep. The 30-minute special, Aardman’s first original production done with Netflix, stars Golden Globe winner Gillian Anderson and Oscar nominee Richard E. Grant… In the special, when her egg fortuitously rolls into a rubbish dump, Robin is raised by a loving family of mice. As she grows up, her differences become more apparent. Robin sets off on the heist to end all heists to prove to her family that she can be a really good mouse – but ends up discovering who she really is.” Take a look at the preview video on YouTube also.

image c. 2021 Aardman Animations

Showing His Stripes

Boy, here’s something we haven’t heard from in a while: The Wolf In Underpants series of graphic novels by Wilfrid Lupano and Mayana Itoiz. The latest one is The Wolf In Underpants: At Full Speed. “It’s race day in the forest—but someone has ruined the posters for the big event! When other animals ask the Wolf to investigate, he discovers a chickadee with a chip on its shoulder. After learning why the little bird feels left out, the Wolf hatches a plan to launch it to victory . . . A plan that just might involve the Wolf’s trademark striped undies.” Got that? The whole series is available now from Lerner Publishing and Graphic Universe.

image c. 2021 Lerner Publishing Group