Here are my picks for the best graphic novels of the year for youth! As always, share your own picks in the comments.
Comics Squad: Recess! by Jennifer L. Holm
The Dumbest Idea Ever! By Jimmy Gownley
El Deafo by Cece Bell
The Graveyard Book: Volume 1 by P. Craig Russell
Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier
Phoebe and Her Unicorn: A Heavenly Nostrils Chronicle by Dana Simpson
Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth by Ian Lendler
Apocalypse Bow Wow by James Proimos III
Brownie and Apollo are two dogs who have been happily living together with their two humans. Their only argument is that Apollo always gets the couch. But then their humans fail to return and the two of them are left alone. Brownie knows the humans will be back soon because he’s getting very hungry and they always come back when he’s hungry. But they don’t return. So the dogs have to figure out how to get out of the house. Apollo tries to break down the door, but it doesn’t work so Brownie thinks that licking the doorknob will help. Apollo knows this makes no sense, but lets Brownie try it. And when he does, a deer leaps through the window and breaks it. Ta da! Brownie and his tongue have saved the day. But when they get out into the world, there are no humans anywhere and now they have to find their own food. Can two rather silly dogs find a way to survive the apocalypse?
This graphic novel is told in distinct scenes, creating a rather movie-like experience reading it. The two dog characters are great foils for one another, Apollo being the more grounded and logical dog while Brownie is rather confused and hopelessly optimistic about everything. Though the book never explains where the humans have disappeared to, readers will happily just go along with the scenario presented thanks to the humor and the silliness.
Proimos’ illustrations are very funny and the way he uses the page is deftly done, making the scenes all the more humorous. Readers of Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s books will be right at home here with the illustration style.
A humorous take on a bleak dystopian disaster, this book will be enjoyed by children who don’t mind a dark side to their graphic novels. Appropriate for ages 9-12.
Reviewed from digital galley received from Bloomsbury and Netgalley.