44 Booklist February 15, 2016 www.booklistreader.com
circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems. Then, the authors cover the kidneys
and renal system, body fluids, the brain
and central nervous system, and the sensory
nervous system. Finishing up are chapters
covering the musculoskeletal system; cells,
genes, and reproduction; and the endocrine
system. Each chapter uses comic book panels
to depict Kaisei’s lectures and conversations
with Kumiko, followed by informative prose
sections. Some frank discussions about eliminating body waste and sexual activity make
this book more appropriate for high school.
The illustrations and visual comparisons are
effective tools to help readers understand
physiology. This could be a great supplemental text for science classes or anyone
who wants to learn or review the subject.
Ms. Marvel, v.4: Last Days.
By G. Willow Wilson. Illus. by Adrian
2015. 120p. Marvel, paper, $17.99 (9780785197362).
741.5. Gr. 7–11.
Over the course of Willow’s groundbreaking series, she has given Pakistani American
teen Kamala Khan plenty of compelling
story lines, and this one’s no different. Something terrible is happening in Manhattan,
and ensuing panic is turning Jersey City into
a war zone. Kamala is desperate to save her
beloved city, but when Carol Danvers arrives
to finally meet the girl who took over her
title, she informs Kamala to prepare for the
worst: help isn’t coming to Jersey City, and
Kamala won’t be able to save it herself. At
the same time, Kamala’s nemesis, Kamran,
has kidnapped her brother. Can she save him
while protecting her friends and preparing
for the end of the world? Alphona’s lanky
figures, fantastic use of color, and cinematic
depiction of movement continue to dazzle,
especially the rich diversity of characters that
pack the teeming panels. Though it appears
that this is the end of the road for Kamala,
Ms. Marvel fans need not fear; the stretchy
superhero, who’s such a refreshing departure from the usual fare, will surely endure.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, v.2:
Squirrel You Know It’s True.
By Ryan North. Illus. by Erica Henderson.
2015. 120p. Marvel, paper, $14.99 (9780785197034).
741.5. Gr. 9–12.
Doreen Green may just be a mild-mannered
college student, but when trouble calls, she
becomes Squirrel Girl, a superhero who pos-
sess all the powers of both a squirrel and a
girl. Although she’s battled everyone from
Galactus to Thanos, Squirrel Girl may have
just met her match with her new archenemy,
Girl Squirrel, a superpowered female squir-
rel. Yes, it’s weird, but with a healthy mix of
sarcasm and over-the-top enthusiasm, North
sets the bar high for a story that’s heavy on
humor and charm. What may be missing for
some is action and a more concrete story, as
the addition of new team members Koi Boi
and Chipmunk Hunk, who can communi-
cate with kois and chipmunks, respectively,
feels more like additional setup than actual
plot. But if you came for a generic action
comic, you’re reading the wrong book, as
Squirrel Girl is all about riffing on its title
character and superhero culture at large.
North’s own running commentary on the
bottom gutter of each page is always a laugh.
One of the funniest books currently out
there. —Peter Blenski
Apocalypse Meow Meow.
By James Proimos III. Illus. by James
2015. 240p. Bloomsbury, $13.99 (9781619634725).
741.5. Gr. 2–4.
In this sequel to Apocalypse Bow Wow
(2015), Brownie, Apollo, and their new
friends need to find more food, and Rat
has found a Twonkies factory filled with the
sugary, goo-filled pastries. There’s just one
problem—a cat (readers will recognize it’s a
lion), who challenges Apollo to a duel. If they
win, they get all the Twonkies, but if the lion
wins, he’ll eat all of them. The training does
not go well for Apollo. Meanwhile, a naked
human wearing only sunglasses keeps popping in and muttering about a time machine,
then disappearing before any of the animals
can follow him. Young readers will giggle,
while older readers may chuckle at the references to the Terminator films. The Proimos
father-and-son duo use fun dialogue; simple
panel layouts; large-print word balloons; and
goofy, scratchy black-and-white art to craft
a story about a postapocalyptic future that
won’t scare young readers. The book ends
on a cliff-hanger, promising more stories,
perhaps about that sunglasses-wearing gentleman, to come. —Kat Kan
The Fox and the Star.
By Coralie Bickford-Smith. Illus. by the
2015. 64p. Penguin, $20 (9780143108672). 741.5.
This warm fable follows a forest-dwelling
fox who loves the familiar star who always
lights his way. On pages decorated with William Morris–style motifs and flat blocks of
color, Bickford-Smith cultivates a serene
atmosphere, both in the spare text and
meticulous artwork. Curlicues of ferns arc
around one another, leaving rabbit shapes in
the negative space—a hint of the fox’s prey.
After the fox awakes to find his star missing,
Bickford-Smith swaps the crisp white highlights of the opening scenes for dun gray,
evoking a more somber mood. When the
fox finds a secret message—words carefully
laid out in a blanket of strewn leaves—the
next page reveals a resplendent spread of
midnight blue spangled with hundreds of
stars. Not only has Fox found his friend,
he has found many more. It’s an unusual,
pleasantly old-fashioned volume that doesn’t
quite seem right at home among the picture-book or graphic-novel sections, but thanks
to the gorgeous production value and moving illustrations, readers won’t mind where
it’s shelved, as long as they can find it.
The Glorkian Warrior and the Mustache
By James Kochalka. Illus. by the author.
Mar. 2016. 128p. First Second, $19.99
(9781626723726); paper, $14.99 (9781626720220).
741.5. K–Gr. 3.
After a scary nightmare involving giant
mustaches, manic children, cavernous holes,
and weird hats, Glorkian Warrior is pleased
to discover it was all a dream! Before heading
off on patrol, Warrior needs a coffee, but before he can finish, baby Gork’s friends sneak
up on him, which proves more of a jolt than
any caffeinated beverage. Plenty of kooky vignettes follow, as the Glorkian children beg
their bubblegum-pink elder to train them
in the grand tradition of Glorkian warriors.
First, they tumble down a giant hole, then,
upon escaping the first hole, they fall down
another giant hole, only this one is occupied
by a crazy guy in a weird hat. (Turns out that
dream was pretty prophetic.) The high jinks
continue in classic Kochalka fashion, with
plenty of great sound effects, large-format
panels, and ridiculous antics. The thickly
outlined aliens in bright, outlandish hues are
marvelously expressive, and Kochalka’s distinctive cartoon style is the perfect match for
the slapstick humor. Little ones after wacky
stuff, particularly those who loved other
Glorkian Warrior comics, won’t be disappointed. —Sarah Hunter
Poptropica: Mystery of the Map.
By Jack Chabert. Illus. by Kory Merritt.
Mar. 2016. 112p. Abrams/Amulet, $9.95
(9781419720673). 741.5. Gr. 3–6.
Based on the online role-playing game
developed by the ever-popular Jeff Kinney,
this new adventure comic series gets off to a
flying start when the hot-air balloon Oliver,
Mya, and Jorge are in is hijacked by villainous Captain Octavian, before it crash lands
on a mysterious island inhabited by a variety
of extinct creatures (dodos!) and a village full
of ancient, very intimidating Vikings. Having
found an interactive map, the three are able
to pinpoint their location on the island, escape from the Vikings, and go after Octavian,
who stranded them there. The story, while
not deep, is action-packed and speeds along
quickly, with lots of corny jokes thrown in to
keep readers giggling. The lively art mirrors
that on the website, featuring bold, colorful
panels and characters with giant heads and
expressive eyes. Fans of the online game will
delight in reading a story about one of Poptropica’s many islands, and newcomers will
have no trouble falling into this adventure.