FICTION

Sparks!

Sparks! illus. by Nina Matsumoto. 192p. Scholastic/Graphix! Feb. 2018. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781338029468.
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Gr 2–5—Two cats moonlight as a mechanical superhero dog named Sparks in this goofy sci-fi graphic novel. Charlie, the pilot, is a fearless outdoor cat. August, the inventor, is a cat who's terrified to go outside after a traumatic past in a laboratory. In the guise of Sparks, Charlie, and August accomplish such feats as rescuing a baby from a well and extinguishing a burning building with pee. But the intrepid canine always disappears afterward so that no one will know Sparks's true identity. When an alien named Princess—disguised as a human baby—arrives on Earth to test out a device that can control all the animals on the planet, Charlie and August (and Sparks, of course) have their heroic work cut out for them. But once they are separated by a tricky double agent, can August dare to step outside and save the day? Divided into 11 chapters, the art is full color, with large panels that are easy to follow. The bold, simple character design allows for exaggerated, hilarious facial expressions. The walking, talking litter box is a shining star of a character, providing occasional dance parties and limitless potty humor. Though most of the plot focuses on animal or alien characters, there is a welcome diversity of supporting human characters. Cat and dog lovers alike will laugh their way to the end of this offering.
VERDICT Recommended for all children's comics collections.

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