Posted in Fiction, Fiction, Graphic Novels, Historical Fiction, Humor, Intermediate, Middle Grade, Tween Reads

Sibling antics in the Wild West: Varmints

varmints_1Varmints, by Andy Hirsch (Sept. 2016, First Second), $16.99, ISBN: 9781626722798

Recommended for ages 7-12

Set in the Old U.S. West, Opie and her younger brother, Ned, are orphaned siblings searching for the man who shot their Ma. Problem is, their Pa is THE bad guy – the kingpin, the big bad, cue the dramatic music at the mere mention of his name kind of bad. And he’s expert at not being found. Opie and Ned are undeterred, though; they mean to find their Pa and have some words: if they can just stop arguing with one another long enough to stay out of trouble, that is.

There’s a lot of action and dialogue in this first volume of Varmints. The sibling squabbling provides some quick-witted entertainment, and the explosions and fights, not to mention the cartoony art and bright colors, will hold kids’ interests. It’s a very old-school type of storytelling, with humor, wit, and pathos.

Good addition to graphic novel collections, especially where Westerns are popular; otherwise, a good secondary purchase. There’s a 2013 Varmints story, “The Coonskin Caper”, on Andy Hirsch’s website, along with links to his other work, including The Baker Street Peculiars, for fellow Sherlock Holmes fans who love a touch of the supernatural in just about anything. Check out some of his work on Adventure Time, Garfield, and The Regular Show, too.

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I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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