Pup and Dragon: How to Catch an Elf

Sourcebooks/Wonderland. (How to Catch). Sept. 2023. 64p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781728270517.
K-Gr 3–This graphic novel offers a new venue for the imaginative holiday story first portrayed in the picture book of the same name, also an entry in the “How To Catch” series. Pup and Dragon are fun-loving friends on a mission. The wise-cracking pair spot Santa and his elf munching on cookies in their kitchen, and follow them from house to house, encountering an angry cat, a stuck-in-sticky-tape situation, a cardboard maze, and a grocery store inexplicably befitted with a food cannon. The story’s structure is loose to the point of puzzlement, but Pup and Dragon’s energy speeds readers swiftly toward the fabulous finale of Santa hurtling skyward holding fast to a speeding pizza. Christmas is little more than window dressing for the duo’s escapades—the gift-laden fir tree in every home looks nearly identical, the supermarket is strangely devoid of shelving. Pup and Dragon’s rapport is visually underscored by broad facial expressions that reinforce their thoughts and feelings. Despite the story’s weak spots, Pup and Dragon’s lighthearted partnership is infectious and promises an encouraging structure for young graphic novel readers in this and future volumes.
VERDICT A loosely Christmas-themed caper with amicable animated heroes, unbound by logic or larger purpose.

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