Snow joke.



From the Mythical 9th Division series , Vol. 1

Does the world, or at least Great Britain, need saving? Call on the hirsute heroes of the Mythical 9th Division!

Not to be confused with their bigfoot rivals of the Yankee 6th Division, three shaggy, squabbling yetis known as Albrecht, Timonen and Saar are first responders when Britain calls for rescue. This time, the sudden disappearance of Wales beneath a fast-moving glacier brings the tufted trio flying in from Tibet to face evil mastermind Balaclava, aka Dr. Icepick—who has built a gigantic weather machine atop appropriately named Mount Snowdon and is holding the entire planet hostage for a ransom of $1 trillion. Can the pilose protectors penetrate Balaclava’s icy fortress, fend off his army of laser-wielding robots and (with, perhaps, a spot of help from a Welsh mum and a crew of miners) put paid to the evil scheme? Do you doubt? With occasional breaks for labeled looks at high-tech gear or scenes presented in cinematic sequential panels, Milway (Mousehunter, 2009) crafts a lickety-split set of chases, battles, captures and escapes culminating in the villain’s (presumed) death, the device’s destruction and a lot of defrosted victims. The author notes in a postscript that there actually are eight other mythical divisions, leaving plenty of fodder for sequels.

Snow joke. (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61067-074-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.


Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Formula horror from the 1990s still feels formulaic today.


From the Deadtime Stories series , Vol. 1

The Deadtime Stories from the mid-1990s are rising again—this time in conjunction with a planned series of live-action TV-movies.

In this lightly edited reboot, preteen Amanda discovers an old doll buried in her backyard and shortly thereafter begins receiving ghostly messages written in sand or bathroom steam along the lines of “I want my baby back—now!” Then the doll disappears. Getting it back entails multiple encounters with Anna, the child ghost from whom it was stolen long ago, and the hostile, spooky old lady next door known to Amanda and friends as “Barnsey.” The shudders here are laboriously manufactured by contrived cliffhangers at each short chapter’s end, an obnoxious character who revels in sharing eerie rumors about Barnsey’s supposed witchy ways, nighttime expeditions into her yard and, particularly, with frequent screams: “And Kevin, who had been screaming his head off over Anna’s appearance, stopped screaming mid-scream the moment he saw Barnsey.” There’s no overt gore or violence, Anna fades away once she’s reunited with her doll and Barnsey, unsurprisingly, suddenly turns into a nice old lady.

Formula horror from the 1990s still feels formulaic today. (Horror. 9-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7653-3065-9

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Starscape/Tom Doherty

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

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