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Young Readers

A World for Girls. And Bunnies.

An interesting new graphic novel is on its way — interesting for furry fans, fantasy readers, and anyone exploring their own identity. Try this: “Three years ago, Ash’s mom, Kristin, left home and never came back. Now, Ash lives in the house where Kristin grew up. All of her things are there. Her old room, her old clothes, and the shed where she spent her childhood creating a fantasy world called Koretris. Ash knows all about Koretris: How it’s a haven for girls, with no men or boys allowed, and filled with fanciful landscapes and creatures. When Ash’s friends decide to try going to Koretris using one of Kristin’s spell books, Ash doesn’t think anything will happen. But the spell works, and Ash discovers that the world Kristin created is actually a real place with real inhabitants and very real danger. But if Koretris is real, why is Ash there? Everyone has always called Ash a boy. Ash uses he/him pronouns. Shouldn’t the spell have kept Ash out? And what does it mean if it let Ash in?” Girl Haven by Lilah Sturges and Meaghan Carter is coming this February. Check it out over at Comics Beat.

image c. 2021 Oni Press

The Wizard of Dis-e-ney Place?

So let’s end the year with… more of The Mouse. They keep bringing it! Wizards of Mickey: Origins, Volume 1 is a new full-color graphic novel that just came out. “When a sorcerer steals a powerful magic crystal from the ancient wizard Nereus, apprentice Mickey Mouse travels to the capital of Grandhaven to reclaim it before Nereus realizes it’s gone. His search leads him to the Grand Sorcerers Tournament, which he enters with two young wizards he meets along the way – Goofy and Donald Duck. Little does he know, a far more sinister plot is unfolding in the shadows of the competition…” Look for it in paperback from Yen Press. [And with that, we wish you all a happier and healthier 2021. Be There With Fur On!]

image c. 2020 Yen Press

Monsters of Love Tour

Animation World Network let us know about Love Monster, a new animated series for the young set that’s coming soon to HBO Max. It’s based on a series of picture books by Rachel Bright.Love Monster follows the colorful and funny exploits of one-of-a-kind, huggable hero Love Monster as he navigates the challenges involved in being a bit funny looking in a world of cute fluffy things. Every day provides Love Monster the opportunity to embark on all kinds of big adventures with his friends in Fluffytown, where, together, they learn all kinds of little life lessons. Full of heart and helping preschoolers understand and manage different emotions, Love Monster showcases the importance of kindness, empathy, connection, and instinct.” The AWN article includes an official trailer.

image c. 2020 Boat Rocker Studios

Feathers Gonna Fly

Okay, don’t ask us how we missed a graphic novel series with a title like Pirate Penguin vs. Ninja Chicken. But now we’ve found it, thanks to IDW Publishing. “Pirate Penguin and Ninja Chicken are friends. Or maybe they’re enemies. Heck, if they can’t keep track, then how can we!? Whatever they are, they’re definitely hilarious. We think you’ll like this book: there are about a bajillion jokes inside, and it’s filled with action, adventure and arguments. Sometimes the stories are really teeny, about stuff like ice cream smoothies or making fun of your friends (just like real life!), and sometimes the story gets really epic-tastic, filled with spaceships and giant monsters and evil koalas and stuff (just like real life!). Plus, since it’s about pirates, there are at least 17 sword-fights (that’s the rule with pirates).” Written and illustrated by Ray Friesen, PPvsNC has two volumes out in hardcover with a third one due next summer.

image c. 2020 Penguin Random House

Reindeer Redemption

Perfect for the season, we have Randolph the Reindeer, a new illustrated storybook available in hardcover from Arcana. “When a beloved family heirloom is destroyed, an ex-hotshot reindeer must brave a deadly snowstorm to reach Santa’s workshop for a replacement… before Christmas for one family is ruined forever. This is a story for those who have not got the fairytale ending. For those who have lost. And get a shot at redemption!” Illustrated by David Alvarez, it’s written by Arcana’s head honcho Sean Patrick O’Reilly.

image c. 2020 Arcana Studio

Return of the Big Red Dog

How could something that large sneak up on us? Well, here we go: Clifford the Big Red Dog is coming back soon in a new live action/CGI movie from Paramount Pictures and Walden Media. “As Emily Elizabeth (Darby Camp) struggles to fit in at home and at school, she discovers a small red puppy who is destined to become her best friend. When Clifford magically undergoes one heck of a growth spurt, becomes a gigantic dog, and attracts the attention of a genetics company, Emily and her Uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall) have to fight the forces of greed as they go on the run across New York City.” Before all that though, Scholastic is bringing us Clifford The Big Red Dog: The Movie as a graphic novel, written by Georgia Ball and illustrated by Chi Ngo. According to Wikipedia, the project has actually been in development since 2016, but now both graphic novel and movie are scheduled for release in the later part of 2021.

image c. 2020 Scholastic

Little Dog and Big… Thing

Another graphic novel for young folks, this one from Razorbill. Mellybean and the Giant Monster is written and illustrated by Mike White. “Melly loves to play games. All her feline friends want to do, though, is take a nap. So when she doesn’t leave them alone, the cats trick her into burying a shoe in the backyard. But the small prank turns into a big problem when Melly falls down the hole . . . and is magically transports her to another world! Melly lands smack-dab in the middle of a scuffle between a group of knights and a huge monster. But Melly soon befriends the grumpy giant, learning he isn’t as scary as he seems.” There’s also a sequel, Mellybean and the Wicked Wizard. Look for them both over at Barnes & Noble, in hardcover or trade paperback.

image c. 2020 Penguin Young Readers

A Hero With Cat-itude

Look, we didn’t come up with that, they did! Please don’t hurt us… Max Meow is a new full-color graphic novel series from Random House, written and illustrated by John Gallagher. The first volume is called Max Meow: Cat Crusader. “Max is just a regular cat in Kittyopolis, trying to make it big as a podcaster, until he accidentally takes a bite of a Radioactive Space Meatball at his best friend Mindy the Scientist’s Secret Lab. Then before you can say meowza, Max becomes… (drum roll!)… The Cat Crusader! Being a super hero is fun (Super strength? Check! Flying? YES!!!) – but not if you get so cocky, you forget your best friend! Will Max learn to listen? Will he and Mindy make up? And together, can Max and Mindy save Kittyopolis from the evil Agent M and Big Boss?!” Also be on the lookout for volume 2, Donuts and Danger. Fun side note: John Gallagher is currently the art director of Ranger Rick magazine.

image c. 2020 Random House

Maybe Not ALL Unicorns Want Friendship

Joey Spiotto certainly has an interesting sense of humor. Among his creations is one Grumpy Unicorn, who put out a book of philosophy and observations called Why Me? Well now the grumpy one has returned with his first graphic novel, Grumpy Unicorn Hits The Road. “Everyone’s favorite magical grouch returns in a graphic novel all about adventure! In this collection of laugh-out-loud stories, Grumpy introduces us to his friends like Sassy the Sasquatch and Jack the Jackelope, takes us camping and on road trips, causes a major dust-up at a museum, and more!” It’s available now in paperback from Scholastic.

image c. 2020 Scholastic, Inc.