Agent Moose by Mo O’Hara and Jess Bradley

Kids everywhere are obsessed with Dogman, so it’s always great when I come across a new series that I can recommend to Dogman fans. Agent Moose is the new series by Mo O’Hara and Jess Bradley and it has everything that kids love about Dogman – laughs galore, bold illustrations, and characters that they’ll love coming back to.

Whenever there is trouble in Big Forest there is only one team for the job – Anonymoose and Owlfred. With Anonymoose’s astounding skills of disguise and Owlfred’s calm attitude and patience in a crisis these two catch the criminals…eventually. Something strange is going on at South Shore. Terence Turtle, a witness in a high-profile robbery case, has disappeared and its up to Anonymoose and Owlfred to find him. Unfortunately for Anonymoose that means a run-in with his competition, Camo Chameleon. Camo has just solved his 100th case, making him the best agent at Woodland HQ. That title was supposed to be Anonymoose’s and he’s still bitter about it. Anonymoose and Owlfred are going to have to go undercover and discover what is happening to the animals of Big Forest.

Agent Moose is absolutely brilliant! Mo and Jess have created characters that kids are going to go wild for. The story is super funny and full of gags that readers of all ages will love. I’m a huge fan of Jess’ art, from reading her Squid Bits comics in The Phoenix Comic, so it’s really great to see a whole book full of her art. I love that her illustrations are so simple but all of the characters have a personality. The simple illustrations and the sparse text make this book perfect for younger readers and it’s a great introduction to graphic novels.

Anonymoose and Owlfred are complete opposites but they make the perfect team. Anonymoose is sauve and fantastic at disguise, but not very smart. Owlfred is the brains of the operation and is the one who is calm and rational. Every time Anonymoose was in disguise he made me laugh, because he is so obviously a moose dressed as a turtle or a palm tree. The other characters don’t see this though and often get startled when he talks.

This is just the first book in a series that I hope with have many more books to come. I know that kids are going to gobble this one up and be desperate for book 2 (coming in March 2021). Check out the fantastic book trailer below (this will be great to hook kids in).

Sparks! Double Dog Dare by Ian Boothby and Nina Matsumoto

Sparks! by Ian Boothby and Nina Matsumoto is one of the funniest graphic novels for kids. I recommend it to kids in my library all the time. When I saw that there was a sequel coming I was super excited and I’ve been counting down the days. When I opened a book delivery for my school library the other day it was on the top and I did a little squee of excitement. Double Dog Dare is everything I hoped it would be – silly, funny and action-packed.

Charlie and August are two cats keeping their city safe, dressed in the mechanical superhero dog suit known as Sparks. When there is a family trapped in a burning building, a twister heading for a bus full of children or a pizza truck that’s crashed into the ocean, Sparks is there to save the day. But when a second, evil Sparks shows up and starts causing trouble everyone blames the real Sparks. Who is this fake Sparks and what do they want? It’s up to Charlie and August to uncover the truth and prove that Sparks is a good boy.

Double Dog Dare is another hilarious, explosive adventure with Charlie and August. While we don’t have the alien baby overlord in this story there is a lot of action, with explosions, fire and fights. August’s inventions always make me laugh and I especially love the way he uses the most advanced laser beam in the world. Charlie loses his confidence when a new cat moves in across the road. This cat is polydactyl (meaning it has extra digits on its paws) and Charlie thinks that August wants to replace him. After all, a cat with thumbs could do some pretty awesome things in the Sparks suit. Charlie’s insecurity leads to us getting a flashback to his life before he met August.

The story and the illustrations feel bigger and bolder than the first book. I really love the action of Nina’s illustrations that flows really nicely from panel to panel. I want to give a special mention to David Dedrick, the colourist of this book. The colours are sharp and really make the illustrations jump off the page. There is a lot of action in the story and David’s colours make the action pop.

I highly recommend both Sparks books and they have the kid tick of approval too (the first book is hardly ever on the shelf in my library). I hope there will be more Spark books to look forward to.

S. Tinker Inc. series by James Foley

James Foley’s S. Tinker Inc. graphic novels are some of the funniest books I’ve read. I read and reviewed the first book in the series, Brobot, here on the blog when it was released in 2016 and it’s been really popular in my library. I’ve missed the last couple of books in the series but I wanted to read them before the 4th book, Chickensaurus, is released in September. I can’t believe I waited so long to read them because I’ve spent the last couple of nights laughing out loud at the misadventures of Sally, Charli, and Joe.

Sally Tinker – the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve – invents all sorts of devices. In Brobot, Sally creates a robot brother to take the place of her annoying, stinky baby brother, Joe.

In Dungzilla, Sally creates a Resizenator that could solve many of the world’s problems. However, a test run of the device ends in a dung beetle being embiggenated and terrorising her town with a giant dung ball. They’re going to need a giant solution to a giant problem.

Gastronauts sees Sally taking her Resizenator technology to the next level. She has created a smartCHIP that she plans to shrink and then drink so she will become the ‘smartest human who’s ever lived.’ Unfortunately, her annoying brother Joe drinks it first. Sally must shrink herself, Charli and a submarine and travel into Joe’s body to stop the smartCHIP attaching itself to Joe’s most powerful organ. If they don’t make it, the consequences could be disastrous!

These books are absolutely hilarious! James has great comedic timing and a lot of the funniest moments in the stories come from the visual gags. It’s often the characters’ facial expressions that make me laugh. Sally is always so proud of her inventions and so optimistic but you always know that something is going to go wrong. I love the way that Sally talks to the reader but none of the other characters know it’s happening (Charli keeps asking who Sally is talking to).

Joe is the funniest character in the series, even though he says nothing. Often he is just doing something in the background or wandering past with a toxic cloud coming from his nappy. In Gastronauts, Joe’s stink becomes multiplied and these scenes had me cackling with laughter. Sometimes fart jokes can get a bit over-the-top in kids books but James does it well. My other favourite character in the series is Sally’s Nan. She seems to just take everything in her stride and isn’t surprised when Sally’s inventions malfunction and she needs her help.

One of my favourite scenes from Gastronauts.

I can’t recommend the S. Tinker Inc graphic novels highly enough. They’re the same kind of format to Aaron Blabey’s The Bad Guys and Gavin Aung Than’s Super Sidekicks so they’re a great readalike for those series. Confident readers will love them but they are great to hook those kids who ‘don’t like reading.’ They will be an invaluable addition to your graphic novel collection. Check out the book trailer for Dungzilla below to tempt your readers. I can’t wait to get my hands on the fourth book, Chickensaurus.

Stephen McCranie’s Space Boy series

If you’re looking for a great graphic novel series for Year 6 and up then look no further than Space Boy by Stephen McCranie.

Space Boy follows Amy, a teenage girl who has to get used to life on Earth after years in deep space. After her father loses his job on a mining colony in deep space, Amy and her family must be cryogenically frozen for 30 years and travel back to Earth to start a new life. When she reaches Earth her best friend is now 30 years older, gravity feels different, technology is weird and the other kids seem strange. To Amy, everyone has a flavour – her dad is hot chocolate, her mum is mint – but a quiet boy that she meets at her new school has no flavour and Amy finds herself drawn to him.

This mysterious boy and trying to figure out his story is what frames the series. In each book we learn a little more about him. Is he an alien? Is he a robot? Is he something completely different? I’ve just read Book 7 and I have my theories but I don’t know for sure quite yet. It feels like the answers are not far away though and Book 8 is due out in October. The story started out as a webcomic and I could read ahead at webtoons.com but I prefer to read the physical book.

The characters are teenagers and some of them are in relationships but the content is appropriate for Year 6 and up (ages 10+). The illustrations are simple and the text is sparse so they’re a quick read. Each book has a different character on the front cover as each one focuses a bit more on that character (like their relationships or their back story).

This is a particularly good series to add to your graphic novel collection if your readers don’t like waiting for the next one in the series. There are currently 7 volumes published with more to come.

Make way for the Super Baddies!

Hardie Grant Egmont, the publishers that brought you the Go Girl and Zac Power series, has just released an exciting new graphic novel series for young readers.  Super Baddies is a comic-style series all about heroes and villains, but instead of being all about the goodies, these books are all about the baddies.  The first book, Baddies vs. Goodies introduces you to the characters and the world that they live in.  You meet Giant Boy, Scorcher, Sand Storm, Mean Streak, Frosty, Bad Mads, and my favourite, Piranha Face.  So far there are two books in the series, Baddies vs. Goodies and When Robots Go Bad, but there are more to come and each one focuses on a different Baddie.

They’re a great way to hook readers in to graphic novels, because they’re bright, fun, and easy to read. Simon Swingler’s cartoon-style illustrations will really appeal to young readers.  He doesn’t make the pages too busy, so it’s easy enough for younger children to follow the story.  Those kids that like Zac Power will surely love this series, and they’ll hook those kids that supposedly ‘hate reading.’  The covers are eye-catching and kids will be lining up to get their hands on them.  Baddies vs. Goodies even has the added extra of a super test you can take to figure out if you’re a Baddie or a Goodie.

Meet Scorcher, the Baddie featured in Baddies vs. Goodies:

Go out and grab the Super Baddies series for the little Baddie in your life. Book 1 and 2 are available now.

Enter my competition to win a Super Baddies Prize Pack.