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

FINDING SERENDIPITY

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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Dizzyingly silly.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TYRANNICAL RETALIATION OF THE TURBO TOILET 2000

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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Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun

THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 1

It’s been 42 days since the Monster Apocalypse began, and 13-year-old Jack Sullivan, a self-proclaimed “zombie-fighting, monster-slaying tornado of cool” is on a quest to find and rescue his not-so-secret crush, June Del Toro, whether she needs it, wants it, or not.

Jack cobbles together an unlikely but endearing crew, including his scientist best friend, Quint Baker; Dirk Savage, Parker Middle School’s biggest bully; and a pet monster named Rover, to help him save the damsel in distress and complete the “ULTIMATE Feat of Apocalyptic Success.” Middle-grade readers, particularly boys, will find Jack’s pitch-perfect mix of humor, bravado, and self-professed geekiness impossible to resist. His sidekicks are equally entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt that there are also plenty of oozing, drooling, sharp-toothed monsters and zombies and a host of gizmos and gadgets to hook readers and keep them cheering with every turn of the page. Holgate’s illustrations play an integral role in the novel’s success. They not only bring Brallier’s characters to life, but also add depth and detail to the story, making plain just exactly how big Rover is and giving the lie to Jack’s “killer driving.” The marriage of text and illustration serves as a perfect example of what an illustrated novel can and should be.

Classic action-packed, monster-fighting fun (. (Graphic/horror hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01661-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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