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Step aside, Pops : a Hark! A vagrant collection
2015
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Trade Reviews

  New York Times Review

THE ARAB OF THE FUTURE. A Graphic Memoir: A Childhood in the Middle East (1978-1984), by Riad Sattouf. Translated by Sam Taylor. (Metropolitan/Holt; paper, $26.) With fluent prose and precise drawing, a cartoonist depicts his father's flaws. NOT ON FIRE, BUT BURNING, by Greg Hrbek. (Melville House, $25.95.) This impressive novel explores the aftermath of an imagined "8/11," which evokes people's best and worst selves. THE SONG MACHINE: Inside the Hit Factory, by John Seabrook. (Norton, $26.95.) A New Yorker writer looks at producers, executives, songwriters and artists in the troubled music business. HERE, by Richard McGuire. (Pantheon, $35.) A corner of the living room of the author's childhood home in New Jersey is viewed over a period of eons in this graphic novel, which introduces a third dimension to the flat page. THUNDER AND LIGHTNING: Weather Past, Present, Future, by Lauren Redniss. (Random House, $35.) How human beings live with nature, combining information with striking illustration. SUPERFORECASTING: The Art and Science of Prediction, by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner. (Crown, $28.) To become a superforecaster, rely on data and logic and eliminate personal bias. STEP ASIDE, POPS: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection, by Kate Beaton. (Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95.) Recent strips from Beaton's audacious online comic, collected here, cover a wide range of topics. THE SEARCHER, by Simon Toyne. (Morrow/ HarperCollins, $26.99.) This novel about a man with amnesia grabs our attention and keeps it. THE KILLING KIND, by Chris Holm. (Mulholland/Little, Brown, $26.) A fast-moving, well-constructed thriller about an assassin who kills assassins. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web: nytimes.com/books.

  Publishers Weekly Review

As the sequel to her bestseller Hark! A Vagrant, this collection-once again bringing together strips from Beaton's popular website-is a wonderful second installment. It offers her take on a variety of different historical, literary, and cultural institutions, usually by finding something absurdly idiosyncratic in them and taking this to its ridiculous and, indeed, hilarious conclusion. Whether it's a retelling of Cinderella that involves a night of weight lifting or an exploration of what the Lady of Shallot might have actually seen her knight doing when she looked out of her tall tower, Beaton has an uncanny ability to take the sacred and shake its foundations with the delightfully mundane. Her apparently "simple" art style uses a wide variety of sophisticated visual techniques that perfectly accompany the wit and humor of her prose. From Julius Caesar to The Secret Garden and from the late Romantics to Kokoro, Beaton knocks it out of the park, having a go at anything and everything with her razor-sharp wit. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  School Library Journal Review

Gr 10 Up-In this rollicking follow-up to her Hark! A Vagrant (Drawn & Quarterly, 2011) comic strip collection, Beaton continues to highlight obscure and well-known bits of history, popular culture, and literature. Using a loose line in each strip, most of which contain five to 10 panels, and introductory comments, the creator parodies subjects as diverse as Nancy Drew, the Founding Fathers, Wuthering Heights, the French Revolution, and Wonder Woman. The humor is biting, and the satire may fly over some teens' heads, but jokes and punch lines will inspire young adults to inquire after the source material. Especially funny are the comics inspired by vintage postcards, book covers, and broadsides. The retellings of "The Lady of Shallott" and "Cinderella" and the cheeky upheaval of sexist superhero comic tropes lend a feminist bent to the collection. Vignettes about strong, independent women from history, such as Dr. Josephine Baker, Ida B. Wells, and Katherine Sui Fun Cheung offer much-needed spotlights on their important contributions. The black-and-white sketches, which border on caricature, reflect the fun, lackadaisical feel of the original webcomics but reinforce the satirical leanings of the work. This volume would be perfect for browsing, writing prompts, or as a tie-in for a unit on political cartoons. Spurts of colorful language and some nudity make this title more appropriate for mature readers. VERDICT A sardonically witty romp from a powerful female voice.-Shelley Diaz, School Library Journal © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Summary
<p> A follow-up to Hark! A Vagrant , which spent five months on the New York Times bestseller list <br> <br> Ida B. Wells, the Black Prince, and Benito Juárez burst off the pages of Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection , armed with modern-sounding quips and amusingly on-point repartee . Kate Beaton's second D+Q book brings her hysterically funny gaze to bear on these and even more historical, literary, and contemporary figures. Irreverently funny and carefully researched, no target is safe from Beaton's incisive wit in these satirical strips.<br> Beaton began her infectiously popular web comic, Hark! A Vagrant, in 2007 and it quickly attracted the adoration of hundreds of thousands of fans. It was an unequivocal hit with critics and fans alike, topping best-of-the-year lists from E! , Amazon , Time , and more. Now Beaton returns with a refined pen, ready to make jokes at the expense of hunks, army generals, scientists, and Canadians in equal measure. With a few carefully placed lines, she captures the over-the-top evil of the straw feminists in the closet, the disgruntled dismay of Heathcliff, and Wonder Woman's all-conquering ennui. Step Aside, Pops is sure to be the comedic hit of the year: sharp, insightful, and very funny.</p>
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