Review: Bow-Wow’s Nightmare Neighbors

We’ve reviewed comics and books for kids on the site before so it should come as too big of a surprise that we’re back with a new title from creators Mark Newgarden and Megan Montague Cash. The Bow-Wow book series isn’t one that I’m familiar with, but after reading Nightmare Neighbors I can see why it’s popular. This story is actually completely silent meaning there are no words to accompany the art. I’ll circle back around to this later, but first let’s talk about the story. Aside from being very cute it’s an entertaining story that relies on colors and imagination. The best way to put this is the classic misconception of what you see with the lights off compared to what you see when the lights are on at night. Cartoons have a great way of presenting this, but the creators found their own interesting way of capturing it.

Bow-Wow's Nightmare Neighbors Cover 10.6.14Bow-wow is resting on his teal-ish dog bed when some ghostly looking cats pop up on his window sill. One of them bites Bow-wow’s tail and he jumps way up into the air while the others steal his dog bed. Bow-wow barks and barks for help, but none comes. This forces him to be brave and follow his stolen bed to a scary looking house. Inside he falls down a trap door and spots something that looks like a cat sitting on his bed… until he turns right side up that is. He continues to try to find his bed, making several wrong guesses and constantly being tormented by the ghost cats… particularly the one that likes to bite his tail.

It’s a great story, especially for one that has zero narration. I said I would come back to this so here it is, this book allows the reader, either a parent or a child on their own, to add to the story. They can add their own voice to the tale giving the personality of the art, life. It’s a clever device and with all the “is that my bed” moments in the book the story beckons for imagination.

The artwork is wonderful. The line work is thick and cartoonish, but the style is really what catches your eye. Bow-wow has a distinct look and the artwork gives him plenty of personality. You know when he’s scared or confused. The cats are adorable. Sure if you’re picking this book up you’re likely a dog person, but as someone who loves cats and dogs I tell you they’re both great in this book. Sure the kitties are at fault, but the story has a happy ending. You’ll even like the one that bites tails.

What’s really great is that this book isn’t limited to one age range. You can read it to a younger child that can soak in the visuals or an older child looking to expand their imagination. Regardless, everyone that reads this book will have a fun time in a spooky house with Bow-wow.

Score: 5/5

Creators: Mark Newgarden and Megan Montague Cash Publisher: Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan Kids Price: $17.99 Release Date: 11/7/14 Website