cover image Sparks!


Ian Boothby, illus. by Nina Matsumoto. Graphix, $12.99 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-338-02946-8

After escaping a laboratory, two cats—super-intelligent August and her brave pal Charlie—hide out in a robotic dog suit, which they use to save people from harm. Charlie’s desire to be acknowledged for their heroic deeds runs counter to August’s desire to be left alone, and a determined reporter, who dubs the “dog” Sparks, is determined to figure out what’s behind the high-profile rescues. Tension comes to a head when Princess, a devious infant seeking world domination through animal mind control, sets her eyes on Sparks as the perfect general for her army. Boothby and Matsumoto are veteran creators of comics based on The Simpsons, something that’s reflected in the gonzo plot, the sheer density of jokes, and the clean lines and outsize reactions in the cartooning. Oddball side characters include a talking litter box that assists August and Charlie (“I hear and obey. Also, if you want to poop in me—”) and an overactive squirrel named Steve-O, another escapee from the lab where the cats met. It’s an off-the-wall and very funny adventure with an entertaining odd-couple friendship at its core. Ages 7–10. (Feb.)