Mega-Dogs of New Kansas

Lerner/Graphic Universe. Oct. 2020. 144p. Tr $29.32. ISBN 9781541517332; pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781728412894.
Gr 3-6–Nearly 300 years in the future, Sienna Barlow lives on New Kansas, where gigantic canines known as mega-dogs are bred to protect Earthlings who have settled on the planet. Sienna, whose parents breed and train the canines, loves to explores with her dog, Gus, but her anxiety makes her clam up around other kids. Kevin, a new kid who thinks she’s stuck-up, plays a prank on her and Gus during Vice President Hale’s visit. (The political reasoning for his visit is a bit convoluted, especially for the intended age group.) Kevin drops a diamond ant onto Gus, which makes him itch uncontrollably, but when Gus accidentally wreaks havoc, the vice president is turned against the entire mega-dog program and Gus is locked up. To prevent him from being put down, Sienna busts him out, and the two of them run off in a spaceship—with Kevin as their stowaway. Together, they brave the wilds of New Kansas and uncover valuable information regarding the outpost’s new power plant. Khouri’s expressive artwork features a muted palette reminiscent of vintage space comics. Sienna is tan-skinned with black hair, while Kevin is light-skinned and blond; characters throughout appear to be diverse. While the story is scattershot and the thread about Sienna’s anxiety is dropped once she and Kevin have to work together, there’s enough adventure to keep readers turning pages.
VERDICT This space age graphic novel doesn’t quite live up to its premise, but dog fans will be pleased.

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