cover image Sir Ladybug (Sir Ladybug #1)

Sir Ladybug (Sir Ladybug #1)

Corey R. Tabor. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $12.99 (72p) ISBN 978-0-06-306906-

Tabor’s (Mel Fell) friend-forward graphic novel series opener is an ensemble comedy starring Sir Ladybug as the proverbial gentle knight who doesn’t like big fusses, despite being armored up and sword-toting. He’s joined by Pell, a pill bug and overenthusiastic herald; Sterling, a snail steed who is trusty, if slow, and revealed to possess a palatial shell interior; Caterpillar, a bug in distress who appears in a cold open; and Chickadee, who wants to eat Caterpillar because “It’s kind of what birds do, you know. Eat bugs.” Readers can probably guess that no one is going to get eaten, but they’ll be happy to come along for the ride with this crew, whose irreverent banter is chronicled in unassuming but expertly paced digital line art. The story’s themes of friendship and acceptance may be familiar, but leave it to Tabor to get there in a wholly original way: via a lemon layer cake so “life-changing” that it knocks the putative villain flat with deliciousness and even inspires a parody of William Carlos Williams’s “The Red Wheelbarrow.” Ages 6–10. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Mar.)