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From the Secrets of the Sands series , Vol. 3

An immersive read for lovers of historical fiction.

In this conclusion to the Secrets of the Sands trilogy, Sesha and fellow scribes Paser and Reb accompany Pepi to the Hyksos capital of Averis.

Their goal is to see the ailing king, who is Pepi’s uncle, and prevent war with Thebes. Yanassi, the king’s son and presumed heir to the throne, and his bride-to-be, Theban Princess Merat, are already attending upon dying King Khyan. As they sail to Averis, Pepi shares a prophecy likely unknown to Yanassi: The next Hyksos ruler will come from the line of the physician, ushering in 40 years of peace and prosperity. Pepi believes it refers to Sesha, daughter of Thebes’ royal physician, who’s been posing as his betrothed. Sesha is uncertain—Pepi’s her mentor and friend; she has no desire to marry him but believes Pepi might in fact be the king’s son. She’s confused when the king insists that he isn’t. Could the prophecies mean that Ky, Sesha’s beloved brother and a Theban heir, will inherit the throne of Hyksos? Seeking clarification, the scribes undertake a dangerous journey to the oracle only to hear her prophesy something shocking and unexpected. Sesha excepted, characters remain somewhat underdeveloped, and the interpretation of prophecies and political strategizing slow the pace. Fortunately, Sevigny excels at worldbuilding, layering the minutiae of daily life in convincing detail—in her hands, ancient Egypt, perennially fascinating, becomes a character in its own right.

An immersive read for lovers of historical fiction. (Historical fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4597-4435-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dundurn

Review Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel.

Sandy and his family, Japanese Canadians, experience hatred and incarceration during World War II.

Sandy Saito loves baseball, and the Vancouver Asahi ballplayers are his heroes. But when they lose in the 1941 semifinals, Sandy’s dad calls it a bad omen. Sure enough, in December 1941, Japan bombs Pearl Harbor in the U.S. The Canadian government begins to ban Japanese people from certain areas, moving them to “dormitories” and setting a curfew. Sandy wants to spend time with his father, but as a doctor, his dad is busy, often sneaking out past curfew to work. One night Papa is taken to “where he [is] needed most,” and the family is forced into an internment camp. Life at the camp isn’t easy, and even with some of the Asahi players playing ball there, it just isn’t the same. Trying to understand and find joy again, Sandy struggles with his new reality and relationship with his father. Based on the true experiences of Japanese Canadians and the Vancouver Asahi team, this graphic novel is a glimpse of how their lives were affected by WWII. The end is a bit abrupt, but it’s still an inspiring and sweet look at how baseball helped them through hardship. The illustrations are all in a sepia tone, giving it an antique look and conveying the emotions and struggles. None of the illustrations of their experiences are overly graphic, making it a good introduction to this upsetting topic for middle-grade readers.

An emotional, much-needed historical graphic novel. (afterword, further resources) (Graphic historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0334-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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