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

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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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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THE FIRST CAT IN SPACE ATE PIZZA

Will extragalactic rats eat the moon?

Can a cybernetic toenail clipper find a worthy purpose in the vast universe? Will the first feline astronaut ever get a slice of pizza? Read on. Reworked from the Live Cartoon series of homespun video shorts released on Instagram in 2020 but retaining that “we’re making this up as we go” quality, the episodic tale begins with the electrifying discovery that our moon is being nibbled away. Off blast one strong, silent, furry hero—“Meow”—and a stowaway robot to our nearest celestial neighbor to hook up with the imperious Queen of the Moon and head toward the dark side, past challenges from pirates on the Sea of Tranquility and a sphinx with a riddle (“It weighs a ton, but floats on air. / It’s bald but has a lot of hair.” The answer? “Meow”). They endure multiple close but frustratingly glancing encounters with pizza and finally deliver the malign, multiheaded Rat King and its toothy armies to a suitable fate. Cue the massive pizza party! Aside from one pirate captain and a general back on Earth, the human and humanoid cast in Harris’ loosely drawn cartoon panels, from the appropriately moon-faced queen on, is light skinned. Merch, music, and the original episodes are available on an associated website.

Epic lunacy. (Graphic science fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-308408-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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