Gronk: A Monster's Story

illus. by Katie Cook. 64p. (Gronk: Vol. 1.) Action Lab. 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781632290885.
Gr 2–5—Gronk doesn't fit in among her kind. She is a most unmonstery monster, more caring than scaring. Running away from home, Gronk finds a more suitable family with a human jingle-writer named Dale and her pets, Kitty and Harli. Much fish-out-of-water comedy ensues in these four-panel comic strips. While the humor centers on the imaginative and curious monster's mischief, there is an underlying message of acceptance and inclusion throughout. Originally published as a black-and-white webcomic, this collection adds vivid colors to Cook's strong line work and sweetly expressive characters. The panels are filled with clever details that reward close study. Geek references abound, from the "Lord of the Rings" to "Harry Potter" to Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Some of the jokes may be lost on younger readers, but there is nothing inappropriate. This volume collects the comic strips from Gronk's first year, and planned sequels will collect subsequent years. The back matter includes Gronk strips by other artists, offering tributes to the popularity of the webcomic that has been running since 2010.
VERDICT This multiage comic is worthy addition to any children's graphic novel collection.

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