Post-It Note Reviews: A mayor dog, a bunch of Big Bads, a mobster, and more!
I had grand designs to read a whole giant stack of books over winter break for these little post-it reviews, but instead I spent a week being sick and mostly just watching Golden Girls. That’s time well spent, always, but didn’t do much to knock down a significant chunk of my TBR. Here, at least, are a handful of quick reviews of a handful of new and forthcoming books. All descriptions are from the publishers. Read the transcription of the post-its at the end of the book info. Carpal tunnel has made my handwriting not much better than what my dogs could do.
Mayor Good Boy by Dave Scheidt, Miranda Harmon (ISBN-13: 9780593124871 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 08/31/2021 Series: Mayor Good Boy #1, Ages 7-10)
There’s a new dog in town! Finally Greenwood gets the mayor they’ve been waiting for—Mayor Good Boy! In this graphic novel, a very good dog is going to save his town, one hilarious try at a time.
The votes are in and the new mayor is…A DOG?!
This dog will do more than shake paws. Mayor Good Boy is here to help Greenwood become a town filled with kindness, starting with fetching help for the local zoo. With foes around every corner trying to put a stop to Mayor Good Boy’s campaign of fun, are there cheese snacks and belly rubs in his future? Or will the whole town suddenly have a flea problem?
In the hilarious Mayor Good Boy graphic novel series, everyone can make the world a better place, whether you’re a human or a dog.
(POST-IT SAYS: A dog as mayor?! What’s not to like? Easy appeal with large panels, vibrant colors, and minimal text. Good messages about community action and involvement mixed in with lots of silly stuff. Fun start to a new series.)
Big Bad by Lily Anderson (ISBN-13: 9781368075466 Publisher: Hyperion Avenue Publication date: 09/27/2022)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Suicide Squad in this adult dark, rompy novel in which the most beloved villains from Buffy must team up to stop the Slayer from ending their evil universe!
Demondale, Callifornia, 1999…Like Sunnydale, but whole lot more evil.
Step into this alternate reality, where chaos reigns supreme. The Mayor’s sun-shade has created permanent darkness over Sunnydale, fully opening the Hellmouth once and for all. Now the newly christened Demondale has become a safe haven for vampires, beasts, and all types of ruffians. It’s never been better to be bad.
Aspiring supervillains (and super nerds) Jonathan and Andrew attempt to hold their own in a town full of monsters, while eleven-hundred-year-old vengeance demon Anya is just looking for something to give her life purpose again, spending her days working at an evil juice bar. But soon word gets out that there’s a new Big Bad on the scene, one more powerful and more destructive than anyone who has come before. She, of course, is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And she’s hell-bent on rooting out all of this reality’s evil by any means necessary.
Now Jonathan, Andrew, and Anya must recruit a team of Demondale’s most notorious villains—including Angelus, Spike, Drusilla, and even Ripper the malevolent magic shop owner—in order to save their world. But it’ll be no easy feat to put their pride and differences aside and stop the worst thing that has ever come to town: good.
Written by acclaimed author and Buffy super fan Lily Anderson, this novel brings together Buffy’s most devious and beloved villains from the Trio to the Whirlwind to Anya, Glory, and Vampire Willow. This is one apocalypse Buffy fans are not going to want to miss!
(POST-IT SAYS: Completely enjoyable! Anderson nails the characters’ voices and I loved seeing so many favorites appear and team up in new ways. An excellent reunion/homage that’s superior to most of the other Buffyverse expansions.)
Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega, Rose Bousamra (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781250259622 Publisher: First Second Publication date: 10/18/2022, Ages 8-12)
New York Times-bestselling author Claribel A. Ortega and star debut artist Rose Bousamra’s Frizzy is about Marlene, a young Dominican girl whose greatest enemy is the hair salon! Through her struggles and triumphs, this heartwarming and gorgeous middle-grade graphic novel shows the radical power of accepting yourself as you are, frizzy curls and all.
Marlene loves three things: books, her cool Tía Ruby and hanging out with her best friend Camila. But according to her mother, Paola, the only thing she needs to focus on is school and “growing up.” That means straightening her hair every weekend so she could have “presentable”, “good hair”.
But Marlene hates being in the salon and doesn’t understand why her curls are not considered pretty by those around her. With a few hiccups, a dash of embarrassment, and the much-needed help of Camila and Tia Ruby—she slowly starts a journey to learn to appreciate and proudly wear her curly hair.
(POST-IT SAYS: A wonderful addition to the field of books about embracing and being proud of your hair. The bright, expressive art captures Marlene’s many emotions well. I absolutely loved her relationship with her aunt. A solid story that challenges the idea of “good hair.”)
Colin Kaepernick: Change the Game (Graphic Novel Memoir) by Colin Kaepernick, Eve L. Ewing, Orlando Caicedo (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781338789669 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. Publication date: 05/02/2023, Ages 12-18)
An inspiring graphic memoir of taking the road less traveled from celebrated athlete and activist Colin Kaepernick.
High school star athlete Colin Kaepernick is at a crossroads in life. Heavily scouted by colleges and MLB as a baseball pitcher, he has a bright future ahead of him as a highly touted prospect. Everyone from his parents to his teachers and coaches are in agreement on his future. Colin feels differently.
Colin isn’t excited about baseball. In the words of five-time all-star MLB player Adam Jones, “Baseball is a white man’s game.” Colin looks up to athletes like Allen Iverson: talented, hyper-competitive, unapologetically Black, and dominating their sport while staying true to themself. College football looks a lot more fun than sleeping on hotel room floors in the minor leagues of baseball. But Colin doesn’t have a single offer to play football. Yet.
This touching graphic memoir explores the story of how a young change maker learned to find himself and never compromise. How the right decision is very rarely the easy one, but taking the road less traveled can make all the difference in the world.
(POST-IT SAYS: Sports fans in particular will enjoy this inspirational story of determination and passion. Focuses on Colin’s high school years and the challenges and successes that shaped him. Readers will admire his work ethic as eh pursues his own path.)
A Different Kind of Normal: My Real-Life COMPLETELY True Story About Being Unique by Abigail Balfe (ISBN-13: 9780593566459 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 10/04/2022, Ages 8-12)
In this joyfully illustrated memoir, author-illustrator Abigail Balfe recounts her journey growing up autistic and the challenges of navigating the “normal” world around her.
Hi! My name is Abigail, and I’m autistic. But I didn’t know I was autistic until I was (kind of) an adult. This is my true story of growing up in the confusing “normal” world, all the while missing some Very Important Information about myself.
There’ll be scary moments involving toilets and crowded trains, heartwarming tales of cats and pianos, and funny memories including my dad and a mysterious tub of ice cream. Along the way, you’ll also find some Very Crucial Information about autism.
Important, funny, and completely unique, this book is for anyone who has ever felt different.
(POST-IT SAYS: An affirming and very informational look at growing up autistic. The busy pages examine emotions, relationships, fears, interests, communication, and more. The conversational tone and varied format will engage readers as they’re reassured it’s okay to be different.)
Queenie: Godmother of Harlem by Elizabeth Colomba, Elizabeth Colomba (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781419757747 Publisher: Abrams ComicArts – Megascope Publication date: 01/17/2023, Ages 16-adult)
A historical graphic novel inspired by the life of Harlem’s legendary mobster, Stephanie Saint-Clair
Queenie follows the life of Stephanie Saint-Clair—the infamous criminal who made herself a legend in Harlem in the 1930s. Born on a plantation in the French colony of Martinique, Saint-Clair left the island in 1912 and headed for the United States, eager to make a new life for herself. In New York she found success, rising up through poverty and battling extreme racism to become the ruthless queen of Harlem’s mafia and a fierce defender of the Black community.
A racketeer and a bootlegger, Saint-Clair dedicated her wealth and compassion to the struggling masses of Harlem, giving loans and paying debts to those around her. But with Prohibition ending, and under threat by Italian mobsters seeking to take control of her operation, she launched a merciless war to save her territory and her skin. In an America still swollen by depression and segregation, Saint-Clair understood that her image was a tool she could use to establish her power and wield as a weapon against her opponents.
Authors Elizabeth Colomba and Aurelie Levy’s meticulous details—in both story and art—bring Saint-Clair’s story to life in a tense narrative, against a sometimes bloody backdrop of jazz and voodoo. The story tackles the themes of colonization, corruption, police violence, and racial identity, but above all, Queenie celebrates the genius of a woman forgotten by history.
(POST-IT SAYS: I don’t think I’ve ever read anything about a woman mobster. Interesting look at organized crime, racism, corruption, and power. The evocative artwork really sets the tone and shows the action—and violence—of the story. Compelling peek into an era I don’t know much about.)
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About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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