An original, wholehearted affirmation of the written word and the imagination.


From the Tuesday McGillycuddy series , Vol. 1

A middle-grade fantasy about the magic in writing stories.

The tale begins ordinarily enough: Young Tuesday McGillycuddy is waiting for her mother, famous author Serendipity Smith, to finish the latest book in her wildly popular Vivienne Small series so they can have a family vacation. When Serendipity doesn’t emerge from her studio one evening, Tuesday and her father, Denis, investigate. They find Serendipity gone and the window in front of her typewriter desk wide open. Denis seems unperturbed, assuring Tuesday that her mother will be home by breakfast, but Tuesday can’t sleep. Tiptoeing to the studio, Tuesday discovers a silver box containing a gossamer thread that spells “The End.” Intrigued, Tuesday places the thread on the last page of her mother’s manuscript, thinking that if the story ends, then her mother will return, but the words won’t stick. Deciding to start with a beginning, Tuesday begins typing a story. Her words lift off the page and form a magical thread that carries Tuesday and her dog, Baxterr, to the land where stories are written. Banks tells her story in a comfortable bedtime-story–ish third-person narrative voice that’s entirely appropriate to the situation. Readers will laugh as Tuesday meets a self-absorbed successful teenage writer, they will duly respect the knowledgeable Librarian, and they will thrill as Tuesday and Vivienne Small partake in a rollicking adventure together.

An original, wholehearted affirmation of the written word and the imagination. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-154-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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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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