New graphic novel for middle graders about what pickled herring might have done to Grandma

I know cartoonist Alex Schumacher mostly through his comic strip Mr. Butterchips, a foul-mouthed hard-drinking, chain-smoking organ grinder's monkey angry at the world. But he has a brand-new, very sweet graphic novel for kids, The Effects of Pickled Herring. I love to see cartoonists whose work I like try something totally different.

It's about sensitive and artistic 12-year-old Micah who has to navigate his upcoming bar mitzvah while also dealing with social failures, increasingly fraught relationships with this mother and sister, and an Alzheimer's diagnosis for his beloved grandmother. His irrational worries about what caused the disease, and whether he has it or will get it, ring heartbreakingly true for this age.

But mostly it's very funny, with appealing artwork.

All images posted with permission of Alex Schumacher