Baloney and Friends (Baloney & Friends #1)

by Greg Pizzoli (Author) Greg Pizzoli (Illustrator)

Baloney and Friends (Baloney & Friends #1)
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

In this easy-to-read graphic novel series from an award-winning creator, four funny animal friends and their wacky adventures "will inspire young readers to write and draw their own stories" (Dav Pilkey).

Meet Baloney! He's the star of this book, along with his best buddies: empathetic Peanut the horse, sensible Bizz the bumblebee, and grumpy Krabbit--he'd rather not be here, but what can you do?

In this graphic novel for newly independent readers, Baloney and friends step into the spotlight and embody all the charm of childhood in three short tales and three mini-comics that invite readers to join the fun! Giggle with Baloney as he performs some questionable magic, give him a boost when a case of the blues gets him down, cheer him on as he braves the swimming pool, and at the end, learn to draw all the characters with clear step-by-step instructions!

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School Library Journal

Gr 1-3--Like countless lovably naive children's book characters before him, such as Ben Claton's Narwhal and Sam Garton's Otter, Baloney the pig may not always know what's going on, but he approaches every adventure with enthusiasm. His best friend Peanut D. Horse is a stalwart if slightly dim-witted companion, while patient Bizz E. Bee serves as a much-needed voice of reason. Rounding out the quartet is the aptly named Krabbit, the crabby rabbit, who usually chimes in with an eye roll and a huffy "Whatever!" An endearing hero, Baloney will elicit giggles from readers. Putting on a magic show for his pals, Baloney makes a carrot disappear by asking his audience to close their eyes and then gobbling it up. Next, fearful of the wading pool, Baloney makes excuse after excuse, before finally donning goggles, swimmies, and an inner tube. Dialogue is simple yet brims with humor, and the speech bubbles are colored to match the character who is speaking (Baloney's are orange, like him; Peanut's are blue)--a helpful feature for those new to reading comic panels. Set against white backdrops, Pizzoli's cartoons have a spare, childlike style, reminiscent of Mo Willems's "Pigeon" stories. Readers won't want Baloney's adventures to end; fortunately, the book ends with directions on how to draw each of the characters so that fans can create their own stories. VERDICT Baloney and friends are the perfect next step for fans of Gerald and Piggie who are transitioning to chapter books.--Suzanne Costner, Fairview Elementary School, Maryville, TN

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

In a mix of short comics and single-spread minicomics, this first in an amiable new graphic novel series from Pizzoli (The Book Hog) introduces early readers to four animal pals and their friendship's dynamics. The titular Baloney, an eager-looking orange pig, breaks the fourth wall early on: "Hello! I'm Baloney! This is MY book." But when his friends arrive--Peanut, an excitable blue horse; upbeat yellow bee Bizz; and Krabbit, a grumpy purple rabbit--Baloney is forced to amend his earlier statement: "OKAY, FINE!...This is our book." Star or no, Baloney is the most fully fleshed out of the group, and subsequent stories explore his emotional reactions against those of his more archetypal companions. In brief stories featuring a magic performance (with a humorous lack of magic), a fear of swimming, and a case of the blues, Baloney's reactions serve as a proxy for readers'. Pizzoli's approachable art style communicates emotions and personalities through exaggerated facial expressions that should be clear to readers moving into chapter books. Back matter includes simple instructions for drawing each character. Ages 5-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Apr.)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes


"A book that readers will be eager to hog."—Booklist

"A sure bet for Elephant and Piggie fans who are ready for the next step up or want to make the move to comics." —Booklist
"Kids will gobble up Baloney!" —Ben Clanton, creator of Narwhal and Jelly series

"Porcine-ly-perfect" —Laurie Keller, Geisel Award-winning author of We Are Growing!
Greg Pizzoli
Greg Pizzoli is the creator of the Baloney & Friends series as well as a three-time Theodor Seuss Geisel Award recipient for The Watermelon Seed(Medal winner), The Book Hog (Honor book), and Good Night Owl (Honor book). He is also the author-illustrator of This Story Is for You, The 12 Days of Christmas, Templeton Gets His Wish, and Number One Sam. His nonfiction for children includes the New York Times Best Illustrated Book The Impossible True Story of Tricky Vic: The Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower, and he has also illustrated picture books written by authors such as Mac Barnett, Kelly DiPucchio, Jennifer Adams, and Margaret Wise Brown. He lives in Philadelphia.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
April 20, 2020
Baloney & Friends
Little Maverick Reading List
Selection 2021

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