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Young Readers

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

Best Friends Go On One Last Adventure

Rainbow Bridge is a new graphic novel written by Steve Orlando and Steve Foxe, with art by Valentina Brancati. The story goes like this: “Rainbow Bridge is about a 14-year-old boy, Andy, whose lifelong canine best friend passes away right before Andy is about to start high school. Andy has relied on Rocket for support ever since he was a toddler and Rocket was a pup, and now he’s not so sure about handling such big life events without Rocket in his life. When Andy gets overwhelmed and runs off to a spot that was important to the two of them, a dizzyingly colorful splash of light swoops down and carries Andy away to the Forever Fields, the afterlife paradise for animal companions. It turns out the Rainbow Bridge that pet lovers always talk about when an animal passes away is real, but humans are NOT supposed to cross it—especially humans who are still alive. If the Rainbow Bridge allowed Andy across, it must mean there is powerful unfinished business between him and Rocket. And as Andy soon discovers, animals who linger with unfinished business run the risk of turning into wraiths, vengeful, shadowy spirits that haunt the outskirts of the Forever Fields, driven by unresolved pain and trauma.  Rocket has always been there for Andy. Now it’s Andy’s turn to find his best friend and make sure Rocket gets the afterlife he deserves.” It’s available now from Aftershock, and Big Comic Page has a preview.

image c. 2021 Aftershock Comics

Three Young Ladies, Three Cats. It Works.

More from Dark Horse, this time for the cat-lover in your life. Or maybe that’s you. It’s called Cats! Purrfect Strangers, written by Frederic Brremaud, with art by Paola Antista and Cecilia Giumento. “A collection of light-hearted short comic stories following the lives of three young women and their cats. Best friends Manon, Erika, and Camille see adventure every day, but when all three become cat owners, everything changes–for better or for worse! Grow up with these quirky cats and share in all the excitement and fun that comes with raising a cat.” They let it out this October, right before Halloween — of course.

image c. 2021 Dark Horse Publications

Catching Up With Cottonwood

Remember quite a while ago when we talked about a new graphic novel (at the time in production) called Under The Cottonwood Tree? Turns out it’s available now from North Fourth Publications! Here’s what we said then: “One day, brothers Amadeo and Carlos Lucero walked into the deep, dark woods near their home in Algodones, New Mexico… and encountered a deep, dark magic. Attempting to flee, suddenly Carlos finds himself transformed into a black and white calf! That’s the set up for Under the Cottonwood Tree (El Susto de la Curandera), a new full-color ‘Latino fairy tale graphic novel’ by Paul Meyer, Carlos Meyer, and Margaret Hardy. Watch as our heroes encounter dangerous owls, talking rats, and magical spirits as they seek to un-bovine young Carlos.”

image c. 2021 North Fourth Publications

Don’t You Monkey with the Monkey

All right… We’re just going to let this new graphic novel from Random House Studio for young readers speak for itself: “It’s Wednesday! Which means it’s time for Jim Panzee’s weekly Wednesday walk. He wakes up, stretches a little, grabs his stress orange, and sets off. Jim’s favorite part of the walk is the blissful silence. When he’s alone, he can hear all the jungle sounds. Until . . . his best buddy, Norman, decides to join him. And before he knows it, Jim is followed by every animal in the jungle. It’s all just too much. Now Jim and his not-so-helpful friends are on a quest across the jungle to find another stress orange before it is too late!” Got all that? Turns out there’s a whole series of Grumpy Monkey books written by Suzanne Lang and illustrated by Max Lang. Grumpy Monkey: Freshly Squeezed is available now in hardcover.

image c. 2021 Random House Studio

Friendship is… Just off the Coast

Sheesh — The Epic! imprint from Andrews McMeel definitely manages to keep coming up with interesting Furry material for young readers. Unicorn Island is an illustrated novel written by Donna Galanti, with art by Bethany Stancliffe. “When Sam arrives in Foggy Harbor, population 3,230, all she can see is a small, boring town that’s way too far from home. And knowing that she’s stuck there all summer with her grumpy Uncle Mitch only makes things worse. But when Sam discovers a hidden trapdoor leading to a room full of strange artifacts, she realizes Foggy Harbor isn’t as sleepy as it seems. With the help of a new friend, Sam discovers an extraordinary secret beyond the fog: An island of unicorns whose fates are intertwined with hers.” It’s available now in hardcover.

image c. 2021 Andrews McMeel Publishing

Oh, Diddley…

Look, folks, we can’t make this stuff up. (If we could we’d be writing it instead of reporting on it!) Check out the first Adventures of Team Pom graphic novel, called Squid Happens. “When oddballs Agnes, Roberta and Ruby discover a shared passion for synchronized swimming, the trio become Team Pom. But between snack time, their favorite TV show, and raising pigeons, it can be hard to find time to practice. This crew of self-proclaimed weirdos are tired of their loser status in the pool. But on their way to gain the respect and free snacks they deserve, they stumble upon a lonely giant squid. Will he be the secret weapon they need for synchronized swimming stardom? Will they be able to outwit the sinister strangers in bowler hats, or will they end up with ink on their faces?” Anthropomorphics includes all kinds of animals… Squid Happens is written and illustrated by Isabel Roxas, and it’s available now from Flying Eye Books.

image c. 2021 Flying Eye Books

He Doesn’t Even Have A Shell

Comic artist Yehudi Mercado is back with another graphic novel for young folks. (We talked about him recently!) This time he’s illustrating for writer Matthew Cody as they bring us the first book of Cat Ninja. “Beware, villains! Cat Ninja may appear to be nothing more than a silly internet meme. But he is evil’s greatest enemy, and the silent master of Kat Fu and carpet scratching! Raised from a kitten by a kindly old ninja master, Claude now spends his days as the pampered house cat of an eleven-year-old boy. But when trouble arises, Claude dons his mask and springs into action as Cat Ninja — Metro City’s secret protector! In Book 1 of the series, follow our feline hero’s early exploits as he tries to keep his secret identity under wraps while thwarting the evil plans of slimy thugs, rampaging robots, and a certain rodent nemesis who lives under the same roof!” Simon & Schuster have a preview on paw.

image c. 2021 Andrews McMeel Publishing

He’s Busting Out All Over

An inspiring, humorous full-color graphic novel for young readers, with some cool facts to learn about insects thrown in for good measure! It’s Burt The Beetle Doesn’t Bite, written and illustrated by Ashley Spires. “Meet Burt, a ten-lined june beetle. He’s sure he belongs in the category of bugs with superpower-like abilities. No, he can’t carry 50 times his weight, like ants. No, he’s not able to spray paralyzing venom, like some termites. No, he can’t release a bad smell to repel predators, like stink bugs. What june beetles are known for is chasing porch lights and flailing their legs in the air — does that count? Hmm … Maybe Burt will just have to accept the truth. June beetles don’t have any special abilities. But when some other bugs find themselves in perilous trouble that even their superpowers can’t get them out of, Burt suddenly realizes there is one thing that he can do to save his friends — and it’s something that only a june beetle can do!” Available now in trade paperback from Kids Can Press.

image c. 2021 Kids Can Press