A good questing novel for readers seeking a simple, lighthearted adventure.

FART QUEST

From the Fart Quest series , Vol. 1

Three children set out on a quest to prove they can be heroes.

Bartok, a 12-year-old Black boy, was nicknamed Fart by the master he apprentices under after choosing Gas Attack as his first spell to learn. He wants to be an exalted mage instead of an average human. Fart and his group—Pan Silversnow, Moxie Battleborne, and their respective masters—are only three months into a yearlong journey. They must prove they can survive the wilderness of the Fourteen Realms while helping others and defeating evildoers in order to graduate from Krakentop Academy for Heroes. When the masters are obliterated before their very eyes, Moxie and Pan are ready to head back to the academy, but Fart insists that they should use the opportunity to demonstrate their bravery. After taking their masters’ belongings, the trio defeat a hobgoblin then set off in search of heroic escapades. Chaos ensues as the group comes up against giant bees, ogres, and other mythical creatures. Though the story is told from Fart’s perspective, Moxie and Pan are just as important as the three learn to work as a team and recognize each other’s strengths. The humorous writing, wacky names, lively, cartoonlike illustrations, and simple text will especially appeal to reluctant readers. Pan is an elf who is cued as Asian; Moxie is a dwarf who appears White.

A good questing novel for readers seeking a simple, lighthearted adventure. (map) (Fantasy. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20636-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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If not as effervescent as Roz’s first outing, it is still a provocatively contemplative one.

THE WILD ROBOT ESCAPES

Roz, a robot who learned to adapt to life among wild creatures in her first outing, seeks to return to the island she calls home.

Brown’s sequel to The Wild Robot (2016) continues an intriguing premise: What would happen to a robot after challenges in an unexpected environment cause it to evolve in unusual ways? As this book opens, Roz is delivered to a farm where she helps a widower with two young children run a dairy operation that has been in his family for generations. Roz reveals her backstory to the cows, who are supportive of the robot’s determination to return to the island and to her adopted son, the goose Brightbill. The cows, the children, and finally Brightbill himself come to Roz’s aid. The focus on Roz’s escape from human control results in a somewhat solemn and episodic narrative, with an extended journey and chase after Roz leaves the farm. Dr. Molovo, a literal deus ex machina, appears near the end of the story to provide a means of rescue. She is Roz’s designer/creator, and, intrigued by the robot’s adaptation and evolution but cognizant of the threat that those achievements might represent to humans, she assists Roz and Brightbill in their quest. The satisfactory (if inevitable-feeling) conclusion may prompt discussion about individual agency and determination, whether for robots or people.

If not as effervescent as Roz’s first outing, it is still a provocatively contemplative one. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-38204-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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Dizzyingly silly.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TYRANNICAL RETALIATION OF THE TURBO TOILET 2000

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

The famous superhero returns to fight another villain with all the trademark wit and humor the series is known for.

Despite the title, Captain Underpants is bizarrely absent from most of this adventure. His school-age companions, George and Harold, maintain most of the spotlight. The creative chums fool around with time travel and several wacky inventions before coming upon the evil Turbo Toilet 2000, making its return for vengeance after sitting out a few of the previous books. When the good Captain shows up to save the day, he brings with him dynamic action and wordplay that meet the series’ standards. The Captain Underpants saga maintains its charm even into this, the 11th volume. The epic is filled to the brim with sight gags, toilet humor, flip-o-ramas and anarchic glee. Holding all this nonsense together is the author’s good-natured sense of harmless fun. The humor is never gross or over-the-top, just loud and innocuous. Adults may roll their eyes here and there, but youngsters will eat this up just as quickly as they devoured every other Underpants episode.

Dizzyingly silly. (Humor. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-50490-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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