Fans will be happy more adventures are in the offing.


From the Mr. Penguin series , Vol. 2

Mr. Penguin and his intrepid band face adventure once more following series opener Mr. Penguin and the Lost Treasure (2019).

Adventurer Mr. Penguin is once again joined by Colin the kung fu spider, the handy Edith Hedge (a human with an elastic definition of borrowing), and silent pigeon Gordon on a mysterious mission. While attempting to recover the Enigma Stone for Professor Stout-Girdle, the group crash-lands their—urm, borrowed plane on a mountaintop near the tiny snowbound town of Schneedorf-on-the-Peak. Siblings Dieter and Lisle Strudel rescue them from a certain snowy demise and then ask their assistance. There are strange goings-on in the village (all the rodents are vanishing), and the abandoned fortress built by Grandfather Grimm has suddenly come back to life. Can the two occurrences be connected? Can the adventurers and their new kid friends find and rescue the rodents of the town in time for the 32nd International Rodent Games? Who is Dr. Mesmero, and what is her diabolical plan? And will Mr. Penguin ever see Cityville again…or get another fish finger sandwich? Mr. Penguin’s second caper is as silly as the first, and as disappointing in its casting of the only apparent human of color—Edith—as a thief. Pages from Dr. Mesmero’s journal, black-and-white illustrations with pops of orange, and occasional orange pages break up the short chapters.

Fans will be happy more adventures are in the offing. (Adventure. 6-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68263-130-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A brisk if bland offering for series fans, but cleverer metafictive romps abound.


From the How To Catch… series

The titular cookie runs off the page at a bookstore storytime, pursued by young listeners and literary characters.

Following on 13 previous How To Catch… escapades, Wallace supplies sometimes-tortured doggerel and Elkerton, a set of helter-skelter cartoon scenes. Here the insouciant narrator scampers through aisles, avoiding a series of elaborate snares set by the racially diverse young storytime audience with help from some classic figures: “Alice and her mad-hat friends, / as a gift for my unbirthday, / helped guide me through the walls of shelves— / now I’m bound to find my way.” The literary helpers don’t look like their conventional or Disney counterparts in the illustrations, but all are clearly identified by at least a broad hint or visual cue, like the unnamed “wizard” who swoops in on a broom to knock over a tower labeled “Frogwarts.” Along with playing a bit fast and loose with details (“Perhaps the boy with the magic beans / saved me with his cow…”) the author discards his original’s lip-smacking climax to have the errant snack circling back at last to his book for a comfier sort of happily-ever-after.

A brisk if bland offering for series fans, but cleverer metafictive romps abound. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-0935-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Dizzyingly silly.


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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