For fans of old-style stories.


From the Princess Juniper series , Vol. 3

Having ruled a community of children for a month, a princess heads home to free her kingdom from enemy invaders.

When Princess Juniper received a “brand-new, all-kids country” for her 13th birthday (Princess Juniper of the Hourglass, 2015), she created a romantic valley settlement for her 13 subjects; encountering the Anju, the reclusive, tribal culture of her late mother, she befriended them (Princess Juniper of the Anju, 2016). Now her father’s been overthrown by enemies back at the real castle, so she plots “How to Overthrow a Palace When You Are Understaffed, Underarmed, and Underaged.” Juniper’s team—including a deaf spy who lip-reads implausibly well but also signs and uses a patch of dark fabric stuck to her arm for writing on with chalk—haunts the castle’s hidden hallways and causes “little pranks and mischiefs” until they can manage a true upheaval. Twists and traitors abound, but between luxurious details (foods; a bone-handled comb always in Juniper’s sleeve) and Paquette’s playful diction (“spizzerinctum”; “curiously curious”; “Ruffians we have aplenty”), the vibe is “energetic mayhem” or “showtime!”—never scary. The narrative pace meanders a bit; the appeal is situation and intent more than action. The Anju have only a small role, though it’s still highly problematic for an indigenous-coded group to be at Juniper’s beck and call, even with their blood connection. Everyone besides mixed-race Juniper and the Anju is white.

For fans of old-style stories. (map, cast of characters) (Fantasy. 8-11)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-17153-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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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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A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff


From the Shelby Holmes series , Vol. 1

A modern Sherlock Holmes retelling brings an 11-year-old black John Watson into the sphere of know-it-all 9-year-old white detective Shelby Holmes.

John's an Army brat who's lived in four states already. Now, with his parents' divorce still fresh, the boy who's lived only on military bases must explore the wilds of Harlem. His new life in 221A Baker St. begins inauspiciously, as before he's even finished moving in, his frizzy-haired neighbor blows something up: "BOOM!" But John's great at making friends, and Shelby certainly seems like an interesting kid to know. Oddly loquacious, brusque, and extremely observant, Shelby's locally famous for solving mysteries. John’s swept up in her detecting when a wealthy, brown-skinned classmate enlists their help in the mysterious disappearance of her beloved show dog, Daisy. Whatever could have happened to the prizewinning Cavalier King Charles spaniel? Has she been swiped by a jealous competitor? Has Daisy’s trainer—mysteriously come into enough money to take a secret weekend in Cozumel—been placing bets against his own dog? Brisk pacing, likable characters, a few silly Holmes jokes ("I'm Petunia Cumberbatch," says Shelby while undercover), and a diverse neighborhood, carefully and realistically described by John, are ingredients for success.

A smart, fresh take on an old favorite makes for a terrific series kickoff . (Mystery. 9-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68119-051-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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