While the premise is initially hard to accept given its pure ridiculousness, fans of Captain Underpants and the Wimpy Kid...

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THE PIRATE WHO'S AFRAID OF EVERYTHING

From the Shivers! series , Vol. 1

Get ready for a breathlessly paced pirate adventure starring Shivers, who is terrified of just about everything.

The fearful 11-year-old, the youngest in his family of pirates, begins the story with an overreaction to his beeping alarm clock. The liberal use of capitalized dialogue (“LOAD THE CANNONS! SWAB THE POOP DECK!”) makes it clear that Shivers is easily freaked out. When a carrier pigeon delivers a plea for help from his parents, he goes to the police station for some help. Good thing spunky Margo, two years his junior and the police chief’s daughter, is craving some true adventure. The unlikely duo sets sail and encounters colorful characters. Here the authors’ language often impresses with its rich and humorous descriptions: “In a deep voice that sounded like pancake syrup dripping down a jagged rock, he bellowed, ‘…I am Captain Pokes-You-in-the-Eye!’ ” Man-eating sharks, a giant squid and a villain with a passion for mustard are all part of the over-the-top journey. Cartoonish illustrations in black and white by Holden further emphasize the crazy antics that rapidly move the characters on until their heroic climb of the Statue of Liberty and one final, colossal panic attack that brings the slapstick story to a tidy conclusion.

While the premise is initially hard to accept given its pure ridiculousness, fans of Captain Underpants and the Wimpy Kid may find Shivers more hilarious than overwrought. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-231387-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Another epic outing in a graphic hybrid series that continues not just to push the envelope, but tear it to shreds.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE SENSATIONAL SAGA OF SIR STINKS-A-LOT

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 12

Pranksters George and Harold face the deadliest challenge of their checkered careers: a supersmart, superstrong gym teacher.

With the avowed aim of enticing an audience of “grouchy old people” to the Waistband Warrior’s latest exploit, Pilkey promises “references to health care, gardening, Bob Evans restaurants, hard candies, FOX News, and gentle-yet-effective laxatives.” He delivers, too. But lest fans of the Hanes-clad hero fret, he also stirs in plenty of fart jokes, brain-melting puns, and Flip-O-Rama throwdowns. After a meteorite transforms Mr. Meaner into a mad genius (evil, of course, because “as everyone knows, most gym teachers are inherently evil”) and he concocts a brown gas that turns children into blindly obedient homework machines, George and Harold travel into the future to enlist aid from their presumably immune adult selves. Temporarily leaving mates and children (of diverse sexes, both) behind, Old George and Old Harold come to the rescue. But Meaner has a robot suit (of course he has a robot suit), and he not only beats down the oldsters, but is only fazed for a moment when Capt. Underpants himself comes to deliver a kick to the crotch. Fortunately, gym teachers, “like toddlers,” will put anything in their mouths—so an ingestion of soda pop and Mentos at last spells doom, or more accurately: “CHeffGoal-D’BLOOOM!”

Another epic outing in a graphic hybrid series that continues not just to push the envelope, but tear it to shreds. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-50492-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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Epic—in plot, not length—and as wise and wonderful as Gerald Morris’ Arthurian exploits.

KNIGHTS VS. DINOSAURS

Who needs dragons when there are Terrible Lizards to be fought?

Having recklessly boasted to King Arthur and the court that he’d slain 40 dragons, Sir Erec can hardly refuse when Merlin offers him more challenging foes…and so it is that in no time (so to speak), Erec, with bookish Sir Hector, the silent and enigmatic Black Knight, and blustering Sir Bors with his thin but doughty squire, Mel, in tow, are hewing away at fearsome creatures sporting natural armor and weapons every bit as effective as knightly ones. Happily, while all the glorious mashing and bashing leads to awesome feats aplenty—who would suspect that a ravening T. Rex could be decked by a well-placed punch to the jaw?—when the dust settles neither bloodshed nor permanent injury has been dealt to either side. Better yet, not even the stunning revelation that two of the Three Stooges–style bumblers aren’t what they seem (“Anyone else here a girl?”) keeps the questers from developing into a well-knit team capable of repeatedly saving one another’s bacon. Phelan endows the all-white human cast with finely drawn, eloquently expressive faces but otherwise works in a loose, movement-filled style, pitting his clanking crew against an almost nonstop onslaught of toothy monsters in a monochrome mix of single scenes and occasional wordless sequential panels.

Epic—in plot, not length—and as wise and wonderful as Gerald Morris’ Arthurian exploits. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-268623-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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