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He’ll Just Have To Bear With It

Recently, Andrews McMeel Publishing brought us the new adventures of a young bear having a really bad time. Here’s what they say about Tucker Grizzwell’s Worst Week Ever: “The Berenstain Bears meets The Simpsons in this rollicking yarn about one really, really terrible week. Tucker Grizzwell is having the worst week ever. He is due to attend the annual Jaws & Claws weekend with his dad, where young grizzlies learn how to be terrifying predators. Problem is, Tucker doesn’t even like to eat meat, let alone have to kill it first! Plus, didn’t some kid get eaten last year during the dumpster-diving lesson?” Things only get more complicated in this full-color graphic novel for all ages, written by Bill Schorr and illustrated by Ralph Smith.

image c. 2017 Andrews McMeel

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The Monster at the Back of This Barn

A new reprint of something we seem to have missed the first time around: A coloring book adventure comic called The Unlikley Trio — Last Barn On The Left. Here’s what we found in Previews: “Lil’Bit the mouse, Mrs. Butters the cat, and Abby the Collie dog join together to confront a scary monster that lives in the barn of their small town. Can the three friends overcome their fears and get through this adventure? Kids can be the colorist in this black and white adventure that features fun activities in the back of the book. Alterna will be donating all proceeds to the ASPCA foundation to help protect animals in need!” It’s written and illustrated by Scott West, with writing help from Callie West. On-line there’s all kinds of contradictory information about when this was published, but hopefully Alterna Comics should have it back in stores soon.

image c. 2017 Alterna Comics

 

The Wolf of Winter. Almost.

Dreamspinner Press is a publishing house that specializes in romantic LGBT fiction in a number of genres, including science fiction and fantasy. One of particular note caught our eye: Dog Days, written by T.A. Moore. According to the publisher’s web site, it goes like this: “The world ends not with a bang, but with a downpour. Tornadoes spin through the heart of London, New York cooks in a heat wave that melts tarmac, and Russia freezes under an ever-thickening layer of permafrost. People rally at first—organizing aid drops and evacuating populations—but the weather is only getting worse. In Durham, mild-mannered academic Danny Fennick has battened down to sit out the storm. He grew up in the Scottish Highlands, so he’s seen harsh winters before. Besides, he has an advantage. He’s a werewolf. Or, to be precise, a weredog. Less impressive, but still useful. Except the other werewolves don’t believe this is any ordinary winter, and they’re coming down over the Wall to mark their new territory. Including Danny’s ex, Jack — the Crown Prince Pup of the Numitor’s pack — and the prince’s brother, who wants to kill him. A wolf winter isn’t white. It’s red as blood.” And it’s available now in paperback.

image c. 2017 Dreamspinner Press

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B-E-A-RRRRR!

Patch the Steampunk Pirate Bear. Now how are you not gonna notice a title like that? Written, illustrated, and published by Matt Dean, Patch the Steampunk Pirate Bear and the Lost City of Gold is a brand new paperback book for young readers. According to Horror House Party, “Patch the Steampunk Pirate Bear and his friend, Sprocket the Mechanical Bird, sail a steam-powered airship on a great adventure sparked by a rescue mission.  Chased by his nemesis Captain Caroline, the great teddy-bear hero Patch risks everything to find the Lost City of Gold and save his friend Nikola.  But time is running out and Captain Caroline is hot on his tail!  Will Patch find Nikola and get his crew home safely before they are shipwrecked and trapped forever?” The official web site is also brand new, but it’s quickly filling up as the author travels the country promoting his book.

image c. 2017 by Matt Dean

This One You Can Call A Raccoon

Cameron Ferweda is a young author who wrote (and published!) his first book for young readers at the age of 10. Now in his teen years, he has continued to write The Great Adventures of Rocky Raccoon in three more books (so far), all of them skillfully illustrated by his dad, Michael Ferweda. According to the Rocky web site, “The Great Adventures of Rocky Raccoon is a series of spellbinding story tales of the two most unlikely of friends. Rocky and his sidekick, Buff [a frog], run into trouble at every turn of the page. Encountering pirates, monsters, and an evil duo, Rocky and Buff outwit them all. In this [first] tale, The Fight for Fang, Rocky becomes lost in a terrible storm and finds himself face to face with his worst nightmare – Fang!” The stories are also at Amazon.

image c. 2017 Zinger Digital

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Beware of the Penguin Conspiracy…

Some new discoveries from the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books… including some things that maybe Man Was Not Meant To Know!  We met author Steve Hammond, who introduced us to his new science fiction saga Rise of the Penguins. “The War of the Species has begun. An ancient race of penguin has reemerged. From this race a powerful leader declares himself Overlord and unites the penguin clans of the world. His goal: to drive the human presence away from Antarctica and to exact revenge for the atrocities of the past against penguinkind. Through shadowy alliances and manipulation the Overlord launches a full scale war against the humans. The Overlord’s tactics are ruthless even against penguins under his command. Those who don’t conform to the Overlord’s ideals are pressed into obedience or worse. In the midst of bloody conflict against the humans a small Chinstrap penguin, Lavour, begins to see the folly of war and questions the motives of the Overlord. But can one penguin bring an end to the bloodshed and change their course of the war and restore peace?” No less than six books in the series are available now from Rockhopper Books, and a seventh volume is on the way soon. Visit the author’s web site to keep up to date. And remember to treat birds nicely!

image c. 2017 Rockhopper Books

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Little Knights and Big Dragons

Ben Byrd has been a professional web designer and creative director for a long time. When he lost his then-current job a couple years ago, he made the decision to dive head-first into his artwork. And so he began displaying his colorful pictures of fantasy characters and comic book icons at art shows and fannish conventions all over. A quick look at his web site will show you just how prolific he has been. Now, he’s self-published his very first illustrated book for children, simply titled Dragons. Written by Tatiana Topyrik and illustrated by Mr. Byrd, it’s a rhyming bedtime story ostensibly for young kids, but older fantasy fans should enjoy it too. It’s available now on Amazon.

image c. 2017 by Ben Byrd

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Hot and Dry and Truly Strange

Another one we missed last year, but caught up with this time: Lost Cactus is a full-color on-line comic strip written and illustrated by John Hopkins. Lost Cactus is also, it seems, a top-secret government facility hidden in the desert, where our leaders hide things they don’t want the general public to know about. Things like an irradiated, talking squirrel; a giant anthropomorphic bee; and a small-sized anthropomorphic dinosaur or two. Much silliness ensues when these and other denizens of the Lost Cactus facility interact with the human scientists and military there to run the show — supposedly. Many of the comic strips (and other goodies) have been collected in a new Lost Cactus book, Lost Cactus: The First Treasury. It’s available over at Amazon. You might find out more over at the Lost Cactus web site, but we can neither confirm nor deny that rumor…

image c. 2017 by John Hopkins

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And Speaking of Wolves…

We got this direct from Anime News Network. Seven Seas Entertainment have licensed Spica Aoki’s fantasy manga series Beasts of Abigaile for distribution in North America. Here’s what the publishers say: “Beasts of Abigaile follows a young woman’s fantastical adventures in the mythical country of Ruberia—and all the trials, tribulations, and attractive half-beast people that come with it! In this exciting new series loosely inspired by the classic fable of Little Red Riding Hood, readers will embark on a beautifully-illustrated journey of magical adventure and romance. Tsukishiro Nina has just arrived in the beautiful country of Ruberia, and its charming denizens and lush scenery are like a fairy tale come true. That is until she’s beset by a mysterious young man with a steely gaze and furry wolf ears—who promptly bites her! Nina finds herself turning into one of these beasts of legend, and whisked away to the prison of Abigaile where all their kind are sent. Nina must keep her wits about her if she’s to learn the secrets of this magical world where everyone either makes her blood boil or her young heart race!” Look for it to be released in black & white this June.

image c. 2017 Seven Seas Entertainment