Red Panda and Moon Bear

Top Shelf Productions. Jul. 2019. 192p. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781603094443.
Gr 4-6–Two crime-fighting Latinx siblings star in this series starter that’s perfect for readers who like their superhero stories with a heavy dose of humor. Red Panda’s hoodie, complete with ears and a tail, gives her “the power of twelve fully grown red pandas,” while her brother, Moon Bear, sports a blue hoodie and a gauntlet holding a mysterious magical crystal of unknown power. Between bringing Mauricio’s Bakery (and his pastelitos) back from a fold in the space-time continuum and caring for two dubious stray dogs, Red Panda and Moon Bear still have time to teach readers important life lessons—for instance, an encounter with robot aliens leaves the protagonists awed by the “potential and promise” surrounding every kid. The tale is heartwarming and silly, with Spanish interspersed throughout. The bright and cartoonish artwork is just as charming; characters have elongated limbs, and details like a dog wearing an eye patch are reminiscent of Adventure Time’s visual humor.
VERDICT Offering plenty of fun along with insightful commentary on topics such as environmentalism and the power of storytelling, this graphic novel is a must.

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