From the Poppy series , Vol. 2

A characteristically droll lagniappe for a durable and popular series.

Avi returns to Dimwood Forest, filling a gap in the series with the story of how Poppy the deer mouse met her flamboyant friend.

Picking up where Ragweed (1999), chronologically the first book in the series, left off, the footloose golden mouse with the single earring again finds himself on a train—though not for long, as Lotar, a large but very young and “double-down dumb” raccoon, climbs into the boxcar and is separated from his mother when it begins moving. After squiring Lotar back to his mom, Ragweed finds himself on a second rescue mission after meeting Poppy, who has obliviously danced herself into a live-catch trap. In a stretched-out sequence of entrances and exits, Poppy manages to free herself, but Ragweed is snared, ultimately leading to a climactic mad scramble involving a family of humans, an eager dog, two raccoons, and hundreds of Poppy’s sibs and relatives. Party time! As night falls, the two main mice slip away to dance in the moonlight…setting up Ragweed’s first and last appearance in the rather naturalistic scene that opens Poppy (1995), the first-published book in the series. As favors to series fans Avi slips in a few cameos (notably by vituperative porcupine Ereth and local contractors of the Derrida Deconstruction Company) and a musical arrangement for Ragweed’s theme song, “A Mouse Will A-Roving Go.” Floca supplies spot and full-page illustrations (not seen in finished form) featuring, mostly, mouse-level views of events.

A characteristically droll lagniappe for a durable and popular series. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-267134-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

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 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 10

Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride.

Zipping back and forth in time atop outsized robo–bell bottoms, mad inventor Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) legs his way to center stage in this slightly less-labored continuation of episode 9.

The action commences after a rambling recap and a warning not to laugh or smile on pain of being forced to read Sarah Plain and Tall. Pilkey first sends his peevish protagonist back a short while to save the Earth (destroyed in the previous episode), then on to various prehistoric eras in pursuit of George, Harold and the Captain. It’s all pretty much an excuse for many butt jokes, dashes of off-color humor (“Tippy pressed the button on his Freezy-Beam 4000, causing it to rise from the depths of his Robo-Pants”), a lengthy wordless comic and two tussles in “Flip-o-rama.” Still, the chase kicks off an ice age, the extinction of the dinosaurs and the Big Bang (here the Big “Ka-Bloosh!”). It ends with a harrowing glimpse of what George and Harold would become if they decided to go straight. The author also chucks in a poopy-doo-doo song with musical notation (credited to Albert P. Einstein) and plenty of ink-and-wash cartoon illustrations to crank up the ongoing frenzy.

Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-17536-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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