While the story’s typical middle school troubles may drag, readers excited by plot twists and riddles will enjoy this book’s...

OVER THE UNDERWORLD

From the Unbelievable FIB series , Vol. 2

In Book 2 of Shaughnessy’s Unbelievable FIB series, Prudence Potts and friend ABE must solve another puzzle of mythical proportions: who murdered Odin’s son Baldur?

A year after Pru and ABE, both white in cover art, helped avert disaster, the two are preparing for seventh grade while keeping a hopeful eye out for Mr. Fox, who heads the Fantasy Investigation Bureau. When Mr. Fox finally reappears, the stakes are high: Baldur’s death is the first in a fateful series of events leading to Ragnarok, the end of the world. Trickster Loki appears to be the killer, but Mr. Fox cautions that belief and certainty blind people to magic and that assumptions are “beliefs in different clothes.” This theme’s also explored back in Middleton, Connecticut, where ABE’s father oversimplifies his son’s complex reality and a teacher pigeonholes Pru as a troublemaker. While some readers may connect with ABE’s and Pru’s middle school troubles, many will feel like flipping forward to their more suspenseful adventures in the shadowy underworld, encountering Hel, the clever Queen of the Dead. Readers who skip series opener The Trickster’s Tale (originally published as The Entirely True Story of the Unbelievable Fib, 2015) may find themselves immersed in a Viking world they don’t fully understand.

While the story’s typical middle school troubles may drag, readers excited by plot twists and riddles will enjoy this book’s mythical whodunit and anticipate future resolutions to its cliffhangers .(Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61620-499-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE REVOLTING REVENGE OF THE RADIOACTIVE ROBO-BOXERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 10

Zipping back and forth in time atop outsized robo–bell bottoms, mad inventor Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) legs his way to center stage in this slightly less-labored continuation of episode 9.

The action commences after a rambling recap and a warning not to laugh or smile on pain of being forced to read Sarah Plain and Tall. Pilkey first sends his peevish protagonist back a short while to save the Earth (destroyed in the previous episode), then on to various prehistoric eras in pursuit of George, Harold and the Captain. It’s all pretty much an excuse for many butt jokes, dashes of off-color humor (“Tippy pressed the button on his Freezy-Beam 4000, causing it to rise from the depths of his Robo-Pants”), a lengthy wordless comic and two tussles in “Flip-o-rama.” Still, the chase kicks off an ice age, the extinction of the dinosaurs and the Big Bang (here the Big “Ka-Bloosh!”). It ends with a harrowing glimpse of what George and Harold would become if they decided to go straight. The author also chucks in a poopy-doo-doo song with musical notation (credited to Albert P. Einstein) and plenty of ink-and-wash cartoon illustrations to crank up the ongoing frenzy.

Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-17536-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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An apocalyptic adventure with a whole lot of heart.

THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH AND THE ZOMBIE PARADE

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 2

Thirteen-year-old Jack Sullivan and his crew of monster-fighting besties are fresh off their victorious battle against the evil Blarg, but there’s no rest for the weary in the middle of a Monster Apocalypse.

First, Joe’s Pizza has become the local monster hangout. And second, the zombies seem to be disappearing. Thankfully, the white boy, his not-so-secret Latina love, June Del Toro, his African-American, science-nerd best friend, Quint, and pre-apocalypse bully–turned-ally Dirk, a large white boy who loves to garden, befriend a man-monster who might have the answers to everything. Equal parts humor, adventure, and warmth, the book offers fans of the series and new readers alike an entirely agreeable outing. Jack’s witty narration and Holgate’s pitch-perfect illustrations make for a terrific read that’s particularly well suited for middle-grade boys who might otherwise be reluctant to pick up a book. There are plenty of foul-smelling, brain-sucking monsters and gizmos and gadgets to delight, but at its core, this is a story about friendship. Orphaned at birth and raised by a foster family he describes as jerks, Jack has always longed for a family of his own. Now that he has one, the only thing scarier than the monsters is the thought of losing them.

An apocalyptic adventure with a whole lot of heart. (Horror. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-670-01662-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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