cover image Two-Headed Chicken

Two-Headed Chicken

Tom Angleberger. Walker US, $12.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-5362-2321-7

Rendered in bold hues and a loopy, cockeyed line, this graphic novel by Angleberger (the Inspector Flytrap series) capitalizes on two seemingly unstoppable forces: the multiverse story craze, and kids’ love of being barraged by goofy jokes. Readers are asked to imagine they’re one head of a cockeyed, two-headed chicken; the other head is the reader’s sister, who’s “a lot smarter than you” and has invented the duo’s often unreliable mode of transportation, the universe-hopping Astrocap. Together, they evade the clutches of Kernel Antlers, a furious green moose whose catchphrase is “I am gonna fry you!” The chase makes stops in universes that spoof Charles Dickens and Harry Potter, one in which “lava is actually lukewarm pizza sauce,” and another in which everyone uses “ginormous” old cell phones. (Yet another confronts the protagonists with the classic time-travel dilemma of whether to clobber the adorable baby moose version of their nemesis.) Quizzes, puzzles, and even an affidavit give readers a chance to catch their breath while taking in punch-line pile-ups and fourth-wall smackdowns, which together offer all the pleasures of gulping from a comic firehose. Ages 7–10. Agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary. (Sept.)