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Young Readers

You Think YOUR Dog Is Cool…

Recently we came across Lacey & Lily, a new full-color graphic novel for young readers from Darby Pop Publishing. According to Previews, “A quick-witted pre-teen (Lacey) and her extraordinary dog (Lily) must unravel the mystery connected to a pair of super-powered hero costumes while simultaneously navigating middle school… and saving the world.” Written by Dave Dellecese and illustrated by Andrew Cieslinski, Lacey & Lily just hit the shelves. The official web site has lots of interactive stuff too.

image c. 2020 Darby Pop Publishing

And They Thought This Would Be Easy

Woo, here’s a complicated set-up! Listen to the pitch for Hyperbreed, a new full-color science fiction comic from Storm King Productions: “Byrr, Fext and Cammo: Hyperbreed human-animal ‘splices’. They’ve been given a cushy assignment: Board an ancient freighter, transport valuable Explosive Ore to a mining colony, and earn a large delivery bonus. But when they drop out of spacefold, Mak pirates — robot monsters wearing the body parts of vanquished enemies — attack. Fighting against cruel odds, with Mak Yik crystals infesting their ship, our heroes begin to suspect that their lucky break is really a setup for annihilation.” Written by Louise Simonson and illustrated by Guy Dorian, the whole series is overseen by horror great John Carpenter. Issues are available now.

image c. 2020 Storm King Productions

Tiger’s On His Way

Just over a year ago we mentioned that Laurence Yep’s popular fantasy novel The Tiger’s Apprentice would be on its way to movie screens in 2022. Well now thanks to AWN we have an update: “Time to brush up on your Chinese Zodiac! Hunky Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians, Last Christmas) is set to lend his vocal talents to his first ever voice acting gig as the shape-shifting tiger, Mr. Hu, in Paramount Animation’s feature film adaptation of Laurence Yep’s 2003 best-selling children’s book, The Tiger’s Apprentice. The film marks the feature directing debut for Carlos Baena, a former Pixar animator known for his work on Wall-E and Toy Story 3, as well as his award winning 2019 animated short, La NoriaThe Tiger’s Apprentice, book one in a trilogy of the same name, follows Tom, a young boy living in San Francisco. The real world and one of magic collide when Tom meets Mr. Hu, a talking tiger who mentors the child in the art of mystical protection against evil.” No word yet on any changes to the date, so hopefully we can still look forward to it on February 11th, year after next.

image c. 2020 HarperCollins

Free from the Zoo to You

If you haven’t heard yet: Free Comic Book Day is on this year — but in a different way. Now it’s Free Comic Book Summer, where the samplers will be passed out in batches over several weeks, rather than all at once, as a way to prevent crowding at comic book stores. And here’s one we found right off the bat… Brett Bean is an illustrator and character designer who is a “frequent face” at comic book convention artist alleys. Well now he’s come out with his own series of full-color graphic novels called Zoo Patrol Squad. “The lion has gone missing? The king cobra has vanished? Sounds like a job for the Zoo Patrol Squad! Timid Fennlock Fox and outgoing Penny the Pig team up for their first adventure as they look for clues to track down the missing animals in their usually peaceful zoo.” The free Zoo Patrol Squad sampler is available now at a comic shop near you (wear a mask and visit safely!) and the first graphic novel in the series, Kingdom Caper, is available for order on line. Oh, and visit Brett’s web site to see more of what he’s worked on too.

image c. 2020 Penguin Workshop

Stilton Goes Strange

It’s the internationally famous mouse investigator Geronimo Stilton — like you’ve never seen him before, thanks to Tom Angleberger and The Sewer Rat Stink.  From the Cheshire Public Library review: “Angleberger, best known for his Origami Yoda series, adapts the escapades about the renowned rat reporter into a graphic novel. A horrible stench has invaded New Mouse City, and citizens are leaving in droves. So Geronimo and his old pal private detective Hercule Poirat venture into the smelly sewers of Mouse Island, where they discover a secret society of rats plotting to take over the world.” With an original story by Elisabetta Dami, The Sewer Rat Stink is available now in hardcover.

image c. 2020 Scholastic, Inc.

Bones and Rodents

Okay, so, they’re back! Should we feel silly that we didn’t catch them the first time? Anyway, here’s what Alterna Comics has to say: “Readers of all ages rejoice! Fan favorites Mr. Crypt and Baron Rat are back in an all-new series! In this issue, the friendly duo search for a mysterious creature in the woods that has been terrorizing the local townsfolk. Expect the unexpected!” This new three-issue miniseries is written by Troy Vevasis and illustrated by Aleksandar Jovic.

image c. 2020 Alterna Comics

Real Pigeons Fight Crime

There is no way we could come up with a better lead-in than simply giving you the title of this new series! This is from Animation Scoop: “Nickelodeon has struck a multi-platform deal with James Corden and Ben Winston, and their production company Fulwell 73, to produce an animated movie and TV series based on the recently released children’s book title, Real Pigeons Fight Crime. The movie and TV series are being developed to air on all Nickelodeon platforms… Added Ramsey Naito, Executive VP, Nickelodeon Animation Production and Dev., ‘Real Pigeons Fight Crime is about a secret squad of crime-fighting pigeons, with high stakes and true hilarity making it a perfect fit for our audience. By fusing the humor and expertise of this the incredible team at Fulwell 73 Productions, we are ready to show kids what pigeons really do–fight crime, solve mysteries, take down bad guys, and keep neighborhoods safe!'” In case you were wondering. Oh! Check out the original book over at Penguin Random House.

image c. 2020 Fulwell 73

Aw… Fooey!

Keeping in the realm of graphic novels for young readers, next up we have Baloney and Friends, written and illustrated by award-winning creator Greg Pizzoli. “Meet Baloney! He’s the star of this book, along with his best buddies: Empathetic Peanut the horse, sensible Bizz the bumblebee, and grumpy Krabbit — he’d rather not be here, but what can you do? In this graphic novel for newly independent readers, Baloney and friends step into the spotlight and embody all the charm of childhood in three short tales and three mini-comics that invite readers to join the fun! Giggle with Baloney as he performs some questionable magic, give him a boost when a case of the blues gets him down, cheer him on as he braves the swimming pool, and at the end, learn to draw all the characters with clear step-by-step instructions!” It’s available now in hardcover.

image c. 2020 Little, Brown Books

No Not THAT Fox and Rabbit!

… though you could be forgiven for thinking so.  Fox & Rabbit is a new graphic novel for young readers — the first foray into comic storytelling for children’s book author Beth Ferry. “Easygoing Fox and anxious Rabbit seem like total opposites. But, somehow, they make the perfect pair! Whether searching for hidden treasure or planting a garden in their own backyard, Fox and Rabbit find everyday magic at every turn. On this first adventure, the pair will discover some new favorite things like sunsets, dandelions, and cotton candy. And they’ll face new fears like heights, swimming, and (poisonous!) frogs. Thankfully, there’s nothing Fox and Rabbit can’t do together!” Illustrated by Gergely Dudas, it’s available now in hardcover from Abrams Books.

image c. 2020 Abrams Books