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Young Readers

For Your Friends, They Are A’Changin’

Literally one of the most well-known animal transformation stories on our planet has returned — as a full-color graphic novel series from Scholastic. It’s Animorphs, Volume 1: The Invasion. “The wildly popular, bestselling sci-fi series by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant returns in a new full-color graphic novel series, adapted by Chris Grine. Sometimes weird things happen to people. Ask Jake. He could tell you about the night he and his friends saw a strange light in the sky that seemed to be heading right for them. That was the night five normal kids learned that humanity is under a silent attack — and were given the power to fight back. Now Jake, Rachel, Cassie, Tobias, and Marco can transform into some of the most dangerous creatures on Earth. And they must use that power to outsmart an evil greater than anything the world has ever seen. . . ” Volume 1 is available now from Barnes & Noble.

image c. 2020 Scholastic, Inc.

When You REALLY Need A Best Friend

Lerner Books has a new full-color graphic novel with a notable title, Mega Dogs of New Kansas. “Sienna Barlow loves nothing more than riding around New Kansas on top of her mega-dog, Gus. He’s one of the massive pooches protecting the human settlers of a strange planet. In fact, Sienna connects better with Gus than with other kids. So when a visiting official threatens to shut down the mega-dog program, Sienna sneaks off with her best friend. After she, Gus, and a stowaway crash their escape ship, they discover a danger to every human in their community — and launch a wild plan to save New Kansas.” Written by Dan Jolley and illustrated by Jacques Khouri, Mega Dogs is due this November in trade paperback. Lerner has preview pages to check out also.

image c. 2020 Lerner Books

Ravenous Rodents and Sugary Substances

Good grief, there’s been a lot of anthropomorphic content for young folks coming out of Penguin Random House lately! Now there’s Norma and Belly, Volume 1: Donut Feed The Squirrels (whew, another long title too) written and illustrated by animator Mika Song. From the publisher: “Norma and Belly plan to start the day with some pancakes, but when Norma accidentally burns them, these two best friends set out to find a new treat. Chestnuts might be nice . . . but what is that delicious smell in the distance? A new food truck has parked near their tree, and these two squirrels are going to figure out how to get their hands on these ‘donuts’ that it seems to be selling.” There are other graphic novels available in the Norma and Belly series as well.

image c. 2020 Penguin Random House

Teeth and Tech

…and more graphic novels for young readers, coming to us from Penguin Random House. Possibly the strangest yet for the current crop: Shark and Bot, written and illustrated by Brian Yanish. “Shark loves water. Bot short circuits if he goes near water! Shark recites poetry. Bot recites facts. Can these two really be friends? They’re both a little awkward… They both love comics… And just wait til you see their dance moves when they confront a playground bully.” It’s available now in hardcover. Fun fact: Mr. Yanish works for the Jim Henson Company.

image c. 2020 Penguin Random House

Snack Pets

We’ve talked before about the works of Paige Braddock, both as a writer and an illustrator. Now they’re back with a new full-color graphic novel, Peanut, Butter, and Crackers Volume 1: Puppy Problems. (Woof, what a title!) “Crackers is a rescue dog who’s a bit on the nervous side, but pretty comfy at home with Butter, a very plump cat who–like all cats–is all about himself. The two pets have a good life: big backyard, nice couch, good eats, and an owner who goes to work every day so they can pretty much do what they want. Enter Peanut, a brand-new puppy with big floppy ears, unabashed energy, and no appreciation for the quiet life. The little dog is a chowhound who dips into everybody’s food bowl. He drools, he chews up stuff, he doesn’t get how stairs work, and he’s afraid of the dark. Yowl! Not to mention he’s hogging their owner’s lap. Even the squirrels in the yard are laughing at this goofy little canine. Butter and Crackers have had it! This puppy has to go! But when the backyard gate is left open (the cat’s idea, of course!) and Peanut wanders out and gets lost, the older animals remember what it was like to be alone–and lonely. Butter and Crackers to the rescue!” It’s available now in hardcover from Penguin Random House.

image c. 2020 Penguin Random House

A Home For Kitties

And here’s another interesting graphic novel we found out about from Harper Collins: A Cat Story is a new full-color work written and illustrated by Ursula Husted. “Cilla and Betto are two friends who need a place to call home. The docks in Valletta are too wet, and the scraps of food too scarce. The city’s streets are too busy, and the humans too unreliable. But what about the quiet garden from old kitten tales—a place where all cats are welcome, and the humans are always kind? Could the stories really be true? As Cilla and Betto embark on a grand adventure to find out, they begin to spin a tale of their own—one that will take them through the art and stories of many journeyers who came before, and that will bring them to a surprising destination.” It’s available now — and hey, at the moment it’s on sale!

image c. 2020 Harper Collins

Not Her Kind of Magical Land

There are some interesting graphic novels for young readers coming soon from Random House. First up is Pacey Packer: Unicorn Tracker, written and illustrated by J. C. Phillipps. They describe it like this: “Pacey’s little sister, Mina, has always said her stuffed unicorn, Slasher, is real – but seriously? He’s a stuffed toy! Then again, he does seem to be leading Mina outside her room and to . . . some kind of weird magical unicorn land? Pacey may not believe in unicorns, but she’s not about to let her little sister be kidnapped, so she does the only thing she can: Follows them to unicorn land (that she totally does not believe in). And for the record, it’s NOTHING like the stories. First off, what’s up with Slasher’s attitude? It’s not Pacey’s fault he’s trapped in a ridiculous stuffed body. And that Alpha Unicorn guy? Not. Nice. Pacey will just be grabbing Mina and taking her home, thankyouverymuch . . . that is, if she can work with the grumpiest unicorn stuffy ever to outsmart the Evil Alpha Unicorn and find the way out – preferably without stepping on any poisonous killer flowers.” Nothing complicated about that set-up, right? The book is out now.

image c. 2020 Random House

Find the Pig Wizard

Lightfall: The Girl and the Galdurian is the first graphic novel in the new Lightfall series, written and illustrated by Tim Probert. “Deep in the heart of the planet Irpa stands the Salty Pig’s House of Tonics & Tinctures, home of the wise Pig Wizard and his adopted granddaughter, Bea. As keepers of the Endless Flame, they live a quiet and peaceful life, crafting medicines and potions for the people of their once-prosperous world. All that changes one day when, while walking through the woods, Bea meets Cad, a member of the Galdurians, an ancient race thought to be long-extinct. Cad believes that if anyone can help him find his missing people, it’s the Pig Wizard. But when the two arrive home, the Pig Wizard is nowhere to be found—all that’s left is the Jar of Endless Flame and a mysterious note. Fearing for the Pig Wizard’s safety, Bea and Cad set out across Irpa to find him, while danger fights its way out of the shadows and into the light.” The book is available now in hardcover and softcover from Harper Collins.

image c. 2020 Harper Collins

Looking On In Awwww

And another “ridiculously cute” (to quote one critic) full-color graphic novel for young readers: Bunbun & Bonbon, Volume 1 — Fancy Friends, written and illustrated by Jess Keating. “Bunbun has it all: a delightful Bunbun nose, a winning Bunbun smile, a ridiculously cute Bunbun tail, and not one, but two adorable Bunbun ears. But Bunbun doesn’t have a friend — until Bunbun meets Bonbon. Learning how to be fancy and eating donuts for lunch are two of the duo’s many adventures in this irresistible young graphic novel by acclaimed author and illustrator Jess Keating. Hop hop hooray!” Previews has more.

image c. 2020 Scholastic