The whiz-bang close will satisfy, but a bigger mystery and a startling discovery presage a third adventure.


Chasing a saboteur at the art show is a bit outside of “retrieval specialist” Jeremy Wilderson’s wheelhouse.

Jeremy’s glad to be free for the summer, but being out of school doesn’t liberate him from the unwanted attentions of self-appointed school detective (and neighbor) Becca Mills, aka “the snitch,” who thinks he’s a thief rather than someone who returns items to their rightful owners. His best friends, Case and Hack, still don’t know that Jeremy secretly teamed up with Becca during the last school year to catch a real thief (Under Locker and Key, 2017), and he wants to keep it that way. Case, a talented forger and aspiring artist, is a contender for a sweet prize at the Scottsville Youth Art Show and Competition, but when someone starts throwing paint on the best pieces in the show before the judges can see them, Jeremy’s desperate to save his friend. Then the unthinkable happens: Becca grudgingly asks for Jeremy’s help in catching the saboteur. Jeremy knows 1) he has to be there to mitigate the damage Becca’s questionable skills as a detective can do; and 2) they made a good team before…this might be his only chance to help Case. Hymas’ second twisty caper is fun if a bit too long; since it mostly takes place over the course of one afternoon, did it really need 300-plus pages? Readers will enjoy spending time with the realistic characters, who seem mostly to be white.

The whiz-bang close will satisfy, but a bigger mystery and a startling discovery presage a third adventure. (Mystery. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6346-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

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 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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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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