Thursday, June 28, 2018


Boothby, Ian and Matsumoto, Nina. Sparks!
February 27th 2018 by Graphix
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Canine configuration engage! August, a cat, has created a robotic dog that his friend Charlie helps him run. With the advanced robotics the two are able to save babies who are down wells, pull people out of the path of tornadoes, and perform other heroic deeds. They are being pursued by the evil Princess, who is an intergalactic threat who is inhabiting earth in the guise of a mewling, cute baby. Princess is trying to lure Charlie and August so that she can destroy them, and complete her attempt at trying to control all of the animals on Earth.  but Their canine disguise is throwing her off, and she imperils many citizens in her attempts to rout them, but they generally fail. When a busted control panel, as well as a squirrel spy sent by princess, put them at risk, Charlie and August must dig deep to find the resources they need to foil her. Will the help of their robotic litter box and a genetic camouflage bracelet that falls into the wrong hands be enough to save the Earth from certain doom?

As a dog person, I fear for a future where the fate of Earth falls into feline hands, but Charlie seems very caring and August is technologically savvy, so their are worse saviors to have. They both know even that heroic cats are not usually the ones to save the day, so their robot is a dog! This is a nice twist, since for some reason, there are a lot of books about space CATS. (Spires' Binky the Space Cat, Brockington's Catstronauts, Dinardo's Space Cat ; even Pete the Cat has an extraterrestrial adventure!)

Princess is a brilliantly evil villain who looks cute, and her minders often irk her to such an extent that she must apply the "agony pants" to them. She doesn't seem to have as much of a plan as Marmalade in Blabey's Bad Guys vs. the Alien, but her cuteness certainly works to her advantage when bending Earthlings to her will.

This full color graphic novel has bright colors, simple lines, and a comfortable amount of text for younger readers to process. Graphic novels for older readers are often have higher reading levels, and small text that struggling readers find difficult, but like Winnick's Hilo series or
Braddock's Stinky Cecil, Sparks! has just the right amount of humor, color and robotic dogs to make it a great way for a young reader to pass a pleasant afternoon. 

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