cover image Dog & Hat and the Lost Polka Dots (Dog & Hat #1)

Dog & Hat and the Lost Polka Dots (Dog & Hat #1)

Darin Shuler. Chronicle, $14.99 (80p) ISBN 978-1-79720-688-2

A yellow dog and his best friend, a talkative green chapeau, embark on an extraordinary quest through the sewers in this madcap graphic novel debut, a series starter from Shuler. The hijinks begin at a cluttered novelty shop, where the red polka dots decorating Dog’s shirt suddenly vamoose. On the street, the duo discover the disappearing dots as they bounce down a storm drain—and so commences a subterranean journey to recover the rogue spots. As the pair access an open manhole, receive a map from Sewer Cat, and float through the water park–like sewer, goofy banter drives the wild tale forward until they arrive at the yawning jaws of a hungry alligator who is covered with Dog’s missing dots. The suspense remains high as the friends attempt to reclaim the spots and escape the gator, until help comes from an unexpected source, providing an offbeat exit strategy that leaves room for a planned sequel. Busy, color-saturated panels explode with urban patterns, and scenes burst with humorous details and hidden objects, including an ad-addled sewer map and Sewer Cat’s “neat sewer supplies.” Though the visually appealing, action-packed adventure is wildly absurdist, there’s nothing outlandish about the friendship at this graphic novel’s center. Ages 6–9. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary. (Mar.)