Cover image for Sanity & Tallulah
Sanity & Tallulah

1st ed.
Physical Description:
225 pages : color illustrations ; 21 cm.
Sanity and Tallulah live in a space station at the end of the galaxy. When Sanity's illegally created three-headed kitten escapes, the girls have to turn their home upside down to find her in this graphic novel. --


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Sanity Jones and Tallulah Vega are best friends on Wilnick, the dilapidated space station they call home at the end of the galaxy. So naturally, when gifted scientist Sanity uses her lab skills and energy allowance to create a definitely-illegal-but-impossibly-cute three-headed kitten, she has to show Tallulah. But Princess, Sparkle, Destroyer of Worlds is a bit of a handful, and it isn't long before the kitten escapes to wreak havoc on the space station. The girls will have to turn Wilnick upside down to find her, but not before causing the whole place to evacuate! Can they save their home before it's too late?
Readers will be over the moon for this rollicking space adventure by debut author Molly Brooks.

Author Notes

Molly Brooks is the illustrator of Flying Machines: How the Wright Brothers Soared by Alison Wilgus, and many other short comics. Her work has appeared in the Village Voice , the Guardian , the Boston Globe , the Nashville Scene , the Nib , the TOAST , BUST Magazine, ESPN social, Sports Illustrated online, and others. She spends her spare time watching vintage buddy cop shows and making comics about knitting, hockey, and/or feelings, which you can see on her website ( Molly lives and works in Brooklyn.

Reviews 6

Publisher's Weekly Review

Two brilliant girls, a whole lot of a science, and a failing space station feature in a series opener with a good balance of wit and action. Sanity and Tallulah's inquisitiveness may be the literal ruin of their families and their entire space station: Sanity uses unstable, obsolete technology to engineer and feed a white three-headed cat, Princess Sparkle, Destroyer of Worlds (a name dedicated to each of her heads), and Tallulah has aided and abetted. The feline escapes soon after, just as people report strange occurrences-a murdered animal, power outages, and chewed wires-throughout the station. Racing to find their cat while avoiding parents and crew members, they stumble upon a much bigger problem that could jeopardize everyone on the ship. But who will believe that it's not their missing pet? Within a trichromatic color scheme in shades of purple and pink with white, line work renders characters and situations close up against the massive station, offering the adventure an intimate feel. Debut author Brooks's inclusive vision of strong and diverse women engaged in science, variously abled bodies navigating the challenges of space, and positive family relationships is both enjoyable and commendable. Ages 8-12. Agent: Heather Alexander, Pippin Properties. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

Besties Sanity Jones and Tallulah Vega live on boring, isolated Wilnick SS. When Sanity's lab-grown three-headed kitten gets loose and functions on the space station stop working, the friends must find the kitten, the culprit, and a way to save their home. This graphic novel has sharp, limited-palette art, and its simple plot is elevated by charismatic protagonists and a creative sci-fi world. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Sanity and Tallulah are two girls growing up on a racially integrated but very out-of-the-way space station. Sanity, a girl of color, is the brainy, science-minded friend who engineers a three-headed cat as a pet. Tallulah, a white girl, is the more impulsive but highly supportive friend. When the experimental cat escapes, things start to go wrong on the station. Facing trouble from the station director, who happens to be Sanity's dad, the girls investigate and learn that there's something much more serious and space station threatening going on. Relying on the methodical but suspenseful investigation of the mystery, this is dense with dialogue and limited in furious action, and is consequently a recommendation that readers, thankfully, won't toss off in one quick sitting. This more thoughtful pace proves a welcome homage to intelligent problem-solving, perseverance, and loyalty. It's all invitingly envisioned with button-eyed characters in distinctive hairstyles and fashions inhabiting a convincingly down-to-earth space station and colored in a limited, muted palette that grounds this future and makes even more accessible.--Jesse Karp Copyright 2018 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

IN TALES OF wayward children, parents are often a child's best allies in cleaning up the mess. But what happens when the parents are wayward and the child their rescuer? That's the dilemma facing the heroes of four new novels. IN KENNETH OPPELS astonishing INKLING (Knopf, 272 pp., $17.99; ages8 to 12), the death of Ethan's mother leaves his artist father a zombie-walking "Coma Dad," paralyzed by creative block. Kids at school assume Ethan has inherited his father's genius, begging him to draw on command, slipping him fan letters for his father and choosing him as the artist for a massive school project, based only on his dad's fame - though Ethan alone knows his father hasn't produced a single piece of work in two years. Enter Inkling, a splotch of ink that manifests from Ethan's father sketchbook as a living embodiment of creativity, with the power to read, write and draw. Ethan prizes Inkling like a golden goose: What if it could draw for both him and his father? All Ethan has to do is successfully parent it: feed it, nurture it, manage its volatile emotions. Yet Inkling has roared to life with a purpose, "a whole storm of feelings" congealed into a Rorschach blot, straight from Ethan's father's unconscious. Throughout the book, vibrant, shapeshifting illustrations by Sydney Smith add to this effect. Ink splashes at page corners as if Inkling were alive between the book's covers; characters seem to morph out of black puddles; and whenever the inky gremlin is left untethered too long, Smith mirrors its creative rages with startling full-page panels suggesting Inkling might swallow the story straight out of readers' hands. With each page, we feel Ethan's tension growing, his father's anxieties looming larger and larger, like Inkling's growing blot. To control Inkling, then, the son must find a way to vanquish Dad's demons. That Inkling represents the father's spirit instead of the son's is a stirring choice. Ethan conceals Inkling from his father at first-literally, protecting a piece of his father's soul from him, until Ethan crumbles under the pressure. "A secret was a heavy thing to carry around for so long," he laments, "and day by day it only got heavier." Ethan is a stand-in for every child who must take on the role of parent to sustain a family. But part of what Ethan has to learn is that his father's failings aren't his own; the more Ethan tries to parent Inkling, the more it metastasizes. When the monstrous blotch is finally devoured, we feel Ethan's relief, his father's soul no longer his ward. ETHAN'S father is known only as Dad, but in Christopher Healy's a perilous journey OF DANGER & MAYHEM: A DASTARDLY PLOT (Walden Pond Press, 384 pp., $16.99; ages 8 to 12), Mom has a name: Cassandra Pepper, a manic, stargazing inventor in 1883 New York, who seems to be less mother to her 12-year-old daughter, Molly, and more balland-chain. Molly's father is dead, but his ghost looms large: He had "promised his beloved Cassandra she would never have to give up on her dream" of rivaling Thomas Edison or Nikola Tesla. After her father's death, then, Molly quits school and becomes her mother's assistant, refusing "to let her father become a liar." Determined to showcase Cassandra's flying contraption at the World Fair, only to be thwarted by the all-male Inventors' Guild, Molly soon uncovers the dastardly plot of the title, a death machine targeting the entire city, which Molly and her mother must team up to defuse. With the help of allies, including a Chinese boy named Emmett ("We don't have the best reputation around here," he sighs, fully aware of anti-immigrant sentiment), Molly tracks down the suspected assassins. One by one, the clues point toward famous inventors - Alexander Graham Bell, Edison himself - which gives young readers a chance to meet and exonerate each one before the chase begins again. But amid Healy's whip-smart banter and well-hewed cameos (including appearances by several unsung female inventors), a thorny question takes hold. Unlike Ethan, who struggles valiantly to not be his parents, Molly is her mother's proxy. Indeed, Molly exists so purely to serve Cassandra's hopes, Cassandra's dreams, Cassandra's future, that even mother and daughter are left wondering at book's end: What does Molly want? MOLLY HAS MUCH in common with Mel in Matt Phelan's illustrated knights vs. dinoSAURS (Greenwillow, 160 pp., $16.99; ages 8 to 12), a squire for the knight Bors, "a brute in shining armor" who initially has no clue his liege is a girl. At King Arthur's Round Table, where the pair are in service, knights act as their squires' exclusive guardians, which means Mel's parents are out of the picture and Bors is, essentially, her dad. Testing knight and squire - along with the rest of Arthur's knights - is a forest full of Jurassic beasts. Whether jousting with a triceratops or facing down a Trex, Mel should come with a halo: She's thoughtful, sensitive and wise, "always thinking, planning, preparing." Parenting her seems to require little more than staying out of her way. Not that Bors seems equipped for the role, insisting a female squire is an affront to his dignity and the natural order, where "Might Makes Right." Phelan's illustrations heighten the contrast. Mel is drawn deftly, lightly; Bors is a barrel-chested Cro-Magnon with a bald skull and angry glower. The assumed end to the story would be Mel taming her master and Bors softening in turn - the child become parent. But Phelan stays true to Bors's stubbornness: Even after she saves his life, earning his trust and respect, he abandons her at quest's end: "I cannot have a girl as a squire. It just... it just isn't done." The moment is jarring and cleareyed, reminding us that not every parent can change. Sometimes, family must be found elsewhere. GIVEN THE DEARTH of good stewards, it's natural to envy the two best friends in sanity & TALLULAH (Disney-Hyperion, 240 pp., $21.99; ages 8 to 12), who are blessed with full sets of parents. Molly Brooks's high-octane graphic novel charts the girls' attempt to bioengineer a three-headed cat on their space station home. When "Princess Sparkle" escapes, Tallulah and Sanity go hunting for their new pet, only to suss out a bigger vermin problem that could torpedo their space station. Mirroring Healy's plot, where the initial quest is a red herring for a larger crisis, Brooks diverges in making Tallulah's mother and Sanity's father patient yet strict, sensible yet encouraging, all the while flawlessly managing a space station meltdown. In one of Brooks's sharp, well-paced panels, which juggle action set pieces with helter-skelter angles and onomatopoeic effects, Tallulah's Latina mother redoes her own hair band after teleporting herself, while in another, Sanity's African-American father interrupts his station-saving to make sure his daughter eats dinner. Sanity and Tallulah have no resentment against their parents, no building rebellion; their goal is to find Franken-kitty and keep her alive, despite their parents' threats to destroy the lab cat once she's captured. Given how tempered and loving the guardians are, the cat's fate never seems in doubt. But if such enviable parenting drains a deeper threat from the novel, keeping the girls' mischief well-bounded, Brooks restores the balance by amping up the clear and present danger, forcing both families to work as a unit, suggesting that when it comes to the future, parent and child relying on each other just might be a new frontier. SOMAN CHAINANI is the author of the School for Good and Evil series. His next book, "A Crystal of Time," will be published in the spring.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-Tweens Sanity Jones and Tallulah Vega are best friends who live on the space station Wilnik and spend their time causing mischief. When Sanity, a gifted scientist, creates a three-headed kitten named Princess Sparkle, Destroyer of Worlds without permission and Tallulah helps cover it up, their parents are none too happy. Even worse, the kitten escapes and their space station begins to break down, possibly as a result of their furry friend wreaking havoc on the ship's already run-down interior. Sanity and Tallulah are relatable and well rounded, with an equally strong supporting cast filled with diverse characters. The plot moves quickly, and the high jinks will grab readers' attention. The muted palette of blues and reds works well for the outer space setting, and the artwork is clean, engaging, and easy to follow. Happily, the ending promises more shenanigans with the duo. VERDICT Fans of fast-paced sci-fi graphic novels such as Zita the Spacegirl, as well as readers interested in humor, will be drawn to the plucky pair.--Ellen Conlin, Naperville Public Library, IL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Hijinks ensue when a clandestine "carnivorous bioengineering experiment" escapes on a space station.This effervescent tale begins as Sanity Jones, a budding scientist, gets a tongue-lashing from her best friend's momand Wilnick Station's senior scientistDr. Vega, after the discovery of her completely unauthorized experiment, which involved a modified stasis chamber and other illicitly procured materials. Best friends Sanity and Tallulah have tried to keep the experiment, Sanity's brainchild, under wraps: a white, three-headed kitten they've named Princess Sparkle, Destroyer of Worlds. Although she's been grounded for aiding and abetting, after this bioengineered kitty escapes, Tallulah helps Sanity search the space station for Princess Sparkle, Destroyer of Worlds. (The repetition of the cat's three namesone for each headis just one of the many funny jokes that run through this graphic novel.) Meanwhile, the space station is experiencing technical problems that seem to point to the escaped kittybut Sanity and Tallulah discover a much bigger vermin problem that has the potential to destroy the entire station. Sanity Jones, who is black, and Tallulah Vega-Davisson, who is biracial (Latinx/white), headline a thoroughly diverse supporting cast (Sanity's dad, who's also black, is station director; Tallulah's has a leg prosthesis), creating a fresh, realistic representation of future space exploration. Interlaced with spot-on dialogue that is full of humor, this page-turner delivers. (Graphic science fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.