This Book Will Self-Destruct

Kane Miller. (Agent Harrier). May 2024. 64p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781684648979.
Gr 1-4–Sanders, illustrator of various picture book series such as the “Bad Apple” and “Blue Badger,” is at the creative helm of the first book in a promising new series that crosses the stunning graphic design of film noir with slapstick comedy and mystery. The Narrator breaks down the fourth wall immediately, forming a bridge between readers and characters. Top Dog informs secret agent Wolf Harrier there is a bomb in the book, and he must dismantle it before it ends. As the Narrator interacts, corrects, and even confuses Harrier with Red Herring—for that’s her name—a sense of urgency presses through the art. It is stellar, using black to white with vivid reds blasting through all panels. The Narrator’s dialogue is in print, while all other characters’ dialogue is in italics. This may be a struggle for some emerging students to read, but it is a standard text format for comics. While Agent Harrier needs help to overcome the dastardly deeds plotted in the book, Sanders playfully suggests that friends are the best secret weapon, and one does not have to be a lone wolf. The intricate details, including footnotes and puns, will have readers picking it up to read again.
VERDICT Highly recommended for all graphic collections, especially those who are looking for a new series.

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