Baker deftly delivers the overarching message—that anger fuels poor choices—without sounding preachy, a balance that middle schoolers will appreciate. The snappy dialogue will tickle the funny bones of both adults and kids, especially the chatter between dog and boy. Rex’s advice on controlling anger: “Try taking deep breaths and counting to ten. That’s what I do to keep from biting you when you take forever to walk me.” Elsewhere, CJ laments, “If my Mom and Dad found out I destroyed the Lincoln Memorial AND the Jefferson Memorial, I will be grounded until I am 35.”
Charming full-color graphics from Pratyush and Rituparna Chatterjee perfectly complement the tale, drawing readers into the short but impactful story– which strikes a nice balance between the real world, with angry mothers and principals and childhood fights, and fantasy elements like talking dogs, fireballs, and giant household objects. Kids will happily consider the importance of staying calm while reading and rereading this appealing offering.
Takeaway: This middle grade graphic novel’s message about reining in anger will please superhero-minded readers of all ages.
Great for fans of: Frank Cottrell Boyce’s the Astounding Broccoli Boy, Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A