PetWizards in Publishers Weekly

Scroggs (We Found a Monster) calls on animal lovers and musical theater aficionados in this inviting graphic novel series launch about a tween who can control animals. Finch Eaglehawk is more than just an exuberant thespian with a penchant for Bowie-esque escapades. He is also secretly a PetWizard, one with the ability to control, as he says, the “etcetera” creatures of the animal kingdom (think creepy-crawlies, not adorable puppies). Yearning to hone his powers, Finch, along with his best friend Aberdeen and mysterious new student Erica, set out on a rip-roaring quest to translate an ancient PetMaster manual, which is written in hamsterglyphics. Along the way, Finch embarks on his most nerve-wracking endeavor of all: impressing his crush, the leading man of the school musical. The illustration’s Day-Glo aesthetics and exaggerated character designs combine to deliver an atypical superhero yarn. Bizarre yet relatable characters, off-putting yet cute critters, and familiar messages about identity, fitting in, and being oneself ferried via uplifting storytelling make for a goofy adventure. Erica has brown skin and black hair; Finch and Aberdeen read as white. Ages 8–12. (Aug.)