Monday, June 26, 2023

Happy (almost) Book Birthday, Schnozzer and Tatertoes: Take a Hike! by Rick Stromoski!

It's happy book birthday time! Well, almost. This book hits the shelves tomorrow, but I grew impatient and picked it up a day early.

It's a graphic novel for chapter book reader and should be sheer fun. My daughter, although a teen, has insisted that I add more graphic novels to my list. She was a huge graphic novel fan as an elementary and middle grade student...she didn't really want to read much else and always headed to this section of the library first. So, I promised her to add more of these in the next months.

Anyway, I'm all over humor and reads, which are simply written to have fun. Let's see if this is a summer winner or not.

Schnozzer & Tatertoes
by Rick Stromoski
Union Square Kids
Chapter Book Graphic Novel / Humor
144 pages
ages 6 to 10

TOMORROW! (June 27th)

A buddy adventure through the forest, starring two best-pal pooches!  Two best friend dogs, Schnozzer (the smart one) and Tatertoes (the cheerful one), set off into the forest on a journey to visit Tatertoes’s mom. Along their adventure, they encounter bees, bears, quicksand, characters from fairy tales, something called “nose spiders,” and  lots  of yo-yo action. Their adventures are told as a series of vignettes, propelled by easygoing but giggle-inducing humor. That plus Rick Stromoski’s lush, illustrative style and charming character designs make for page-turning, chuckle-filled reading.

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A trip with these two characters promises tons of laughs, eye-rolls, and even a few 'huh?s' along the way.

Tatertoes hasn't visited his mother in a very long time and decides it's time to change that. Schnozzer, as always, is ready to go along. Not only does Tatertoes's mother live pretty far away, but neither he nor Schnozzer are quite sure how to get there. With Tatertoes's emergency pack at hand (and what a surprise that pack is), the two set out and run into several unexpected adventures.

Humor and a heaping mountain of nonsense are the driving factors in these pages, and this guarantees smiles, laughter, and snorts the entire way through. With misunderstandings, word play, and silly situations, the two friends never run across even a second of boredom. But more importantly, their friendship always shines through. These too are thick friends and even when they are confused by the other's actions/statements, it never hits a negative note. It's an inspiring relationship, which is tons of fun to join.

The journey has the two meeting various characters along the way. The situations might hint at a little tension, at times, but even these dissolve back into humor. The two not only encounter other animals (owls, bees, and alligators) and sticky situations, but there are also nods at three fairy tales along their way. It creates an unique read with lots of surprises.

The graphics are easy to follow, well drawn, and bring each scene to life. The text is clear and holds a slightly larger font, making it easier for beginning readers to handle. The vocabulary is varied, allowing a bit of reading strengthening without bogging down and ruining the fun. The text is concise and doesn't overload, balancing with the graphics to create the tale. It's a light, quick read, which will satisfy even more reluctant readers.

I enjoyed every page and snorted at the humor several times. Of course, some of it is ridiculous, but that's also the point. It's harmless, fun, and sure to delight many readers.

And here he is...

Rick Stromoski is an experienced and respected cartoonist, known for his comic strip Soup to Nutz, which ran in newspapers from 2000 to 2018. He has also illustrated for advertising, children’s books, and greeting cards. Rick is an active member of the National Cartoonists Society and was president from 2005 to 2007. He lives in Connecticut. You can find him online at 

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