“No one can know the truth! That we are, in fact, two cats in a robotic dog suit!

Sparks! #1, page 6

Sparks! is a comedy-action children’s graphic novel series by the award-winning duo, Ian Boothby (writer) and Nina Matsumoto (artist)! Ian and Nina collaborated on official Simpsons comic books for several years. Their Simpsons Treehouse of Horror #14 contribution won an Eisner Award in 2009 for Best Short Story. Ian’s decades of experience as a comics and comedy writer pair perfectly with Nina’s Japanese and American-influenced cartooning style, her art enhanced by David Dedrick’s bright, fun colours.

Alongside funny action sequences, the series explores themes of friendship, teamwork, forgiveness, overcoming trauma, and kindness towards people and animals.

The critically acclaimed Sparks! has won multiple awards and commendations since its 2018 debut. Pick up a copy for a young reader — or yourself!

The long-awaited Sparks! Double Dog Dare is here! ? Scroll down past Litterbox to learn more!

Sparks! (#1)

This Super Dog is the Cat’s Meow!
August is a brilliant inventor who is afraid of the outside. Charlie is a crack pilot who isn’t afraid of anything. Together these pals save lives every day. They also happen to be cats who pilot a powerful, mechanical dog suit! Always eager to leap into danger, this feline duo have their work cut out for them as they try to thwart Princess, an evil alien bent on enslaving mankind. Don’t let the fact that Princess looks like a cute, diaper-wearing baby fool you. She’s clever, determined, and totally ruthless. So when Princess and the browbeaten fools she calls servants enact a brilliant and dastardly plan to conquer Earth, August and Charlie pull out all the stops to save the day.

Writer: Ian Boothby
Artist: Nina Matsumoto, with colours by David Dedrick
Cover artist: Nina Matsumoto
Editor: Adam Rau

Released: February 27, 2018
Ages: 7-10
Pages: 192
Publisher: Scholastic Graphix

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? Winner! The Washington Library Division OTTER Award, 2021

? Winner! Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award (Atlantic Canada), 2020

? Winner! Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award, Grades 4-6 Graphic Novel, 2020

? Winner! BC Book Prize, Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize, 2019

? Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Starred Selection, 2018

? Commended, Resource Links, Best of the Year, 2018

? Commended, OLA Best Bets, 2018

“If it’s not the single best idea for a comic book series ever, well, it’s got to be in the top ten.”

J. Caleb Mozzocco, School Library Journal

Sparks! Double Dog Dare (#2) 

Sparks is in for trouble when he starts seeing double!
Who’s a good dog?!

Charlie and August, the two cats that control the mechanical superhero dog, Sparks, are keeping the city safe. But when a second, evil Sparks shows up and starts causing trouble around town, everybody blames the real Sparks. Determined to prove that Sparks is still the hero everyone can count on, Charlie and August set out to uncover the shocking truth about who is responsible for all the chaos.

Writer: Ian Boothby
Artist: Nina Matsumoto, with colours by David Dedrick
Cover artist: Nina Matsumoto
Editors: David Saylor, Adam Rau

Released: August 4, 2020
Ages: 7-10
Pages: 208
Publisher: Scholastic Graphix

Buy now at:

Double Dog Dare is everything I hoped it would be – silly, funny and action-packed.”

My Best Friends Are Books

“It’s an off-the-wall and very funny adventure with an entertaining odd-couple friendship at its core.”

Publishers Weekly


⭐ “Matsumoto’s bright, dynamic, and cartoonish illustrations, though vaguely reminiscent of a certain show about a dysfunctional Springfield family, are a perfect fit with the text.”
Nathan Whitlock, Quill and Quire

“Nina Matsumoto is the artist of this book and she is terrific. She creates the silly and serious superbly.”
Patrick Hayes, SciFi Pulse

“Nina Matsumoto illustrates it in so picture-perfect a manner that the graphic novel becomes a genuine page-turner and one heck of a lot of fun.”

⭐ “Tightly spaced panels and frenetic motion lines keep the tension high and the pace quick, and the plethora of onomatopoeia give a dramatic and amusing comic-book feel.”
Kate Quealy-Gainer, Project Muse

“Clever, action packed and funny.”
Katrina Yurenka, Youth Services Book Review

Sparks! is a perfect pick for elementary school readers, and with its colorful mix of superheroes, sci-fi, and cute cats, it should have broad appeal.”
Brigid Alverson, ICv2

“This is a well formatted series that has wide appeal. It’s goofy enough to appeal to younger readers, but has some deeper themes like friendship and doing the right thing to keep older readers’ attention.”
Ms. Yingling, Ms. Yingling Reads

Get Sparks! shirts at my TeePublic store in a variety of colours, sizes, and styles! Designs are also available as facemasks, houseware, and stationery.

Team Sparks! at VanCAF 2018 (Left to right: Nina, David, Ian). Photo credit: David Fine