Saturday, November 1, 2014

Review: The Mutts Diaries by Patrick McDonnell

The first Mutts collection in the AMP! Comics for Kids series!
 The beloved characters in Mutts have a special appeal to kids. The warm humor and friendship between unlikely characters create a special blend. Earl is a small mutt with a big heart who cheerfully tugs at the leash on the walk of life. Earl is Mooch the cat's innocent friend, as well as a witness to Mooch's antics, and is sometimes a reluctant participant. Mooch has a fuzzy way of thinking and exclaiming "Yesh!" when really excited. Lively, animated, confident, and silly, Mooch is a smorgasbord of emotions who dances with enthusiasm and sings a lot. Mooch is the curious instigator of action, while the ever-loyal Earl often gets pulled into the fray.
 Created in 1994, Mutts appears in more than 700 newspapers and in 20 countries. McDonnell has received numerous awards for this strip, including the National Cartoonists Society's highest honor, The Reuben, for Cartoonist of the Year, six Harvey Awards for Best Comic Strip, Germany's Max and Moritz Award for Best International Comic Strip, and the Swedish Academy of Comic Art's Adamson Statuette. Mutts has also won awards for its environmental and animal advocacy, including two Genesis Awards from The Ark Trust, The HSUS Hollywood Genesis Award for Ongoing Commitment, the PETA Humanitarian Award, and a Sierra Club award.

It's been awhile since I read a Mutts comic, but I remember that this series was one of the comic strips I enjoyed reading in one of our country's biggest newspapers.

In The Mutts Diaries, readers meet the different Mutts characters and follow them on their adventures.

Each character has a section especially for them, so you really get a feel for their personalities. Mooch is a cat who acts sort of like a teenager or a toddler. Earl is a sweet little dog. Sourpuss, as you would expect, is like a cat version of Mr. Wilson from Dennis the Menace, with a little bit of Garfield too, since he really hates Mondays. Chickpea and his brother are my favorites. They are super cute and sweet, and the kind of animals you can't stop cuddling. Crabby, on the other hand, is a crabby crab who swears a lot (though in the comics, his swear words are seen as random symbols). Guard dog is a big dog who is always tied up, but finds joy and love in a little girl who visits him all the time. Bip and Bop are two squirrels who keep throwing nuts at the other characters. Finally, Shtinky is a tiger-loving cat who has a good heart.

The sections are composed of one strip per page, usually arranged in a square, if there are only four panels. There's also a few Sunday comics strips that are colored in.

If you haven't read any of the Mutts comics, I'd describe the comics as sweet and funny, with a number of the jokes being puns or play on words. There are also a few strips that have musings or questions that I imagine young kids asking their parents. For example, in one strip, Earl points out to Mooch that there are no clouds in the sky. After a beat, Mooch asks, "Where are they?"

Like most of the characters in the strip, this book is lovable, sweet and has a good heart. If you're looking for comics that can make you smile and give you a warm, fuzzy feeling, this book is a good bet.

Thanks to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for the e-ARC.


  1. Most of the characters are lovable.
  2. There are some comic strips that give you a warm, fuzzy feeling.
  3. There are some comic strips that are pretty funny.


  1. It may not be as laugh-out-loud as you would expect. 


  1. You like comic strips with likable characters.
  2. You like puns and jokes that use a play on words.
  3. You don't expect that every comic strip will make you laugh out loud. 



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