Middle-grade readers will be carried along by the buoyancy of the writing, the skillful design, and the humor on almost...

HATCHED

From the Enchanted Files series , Vol. 2

The same team who introduced the Enchanted Realm in Diary of a Mad Brownie (2015; now retitled Cursed) presents a second go-round for the delectation of middle-grade fantasy readers.

Gerald Overflight, a griffin, has run away from home, driven by his siblings’ constant bullying and, the final blow, his father’s true feelings about him. He flies off, accompanied by his teacher, the tricky Master Abelard, who has his own reasons for breaking a boatload of the Realm’s rules. Readers will delight in the tribulations endured by this sensitive griffin, his new friend, the human Bradley Ashango, and the assortment of creatures who, willy-nilly, are sucked into the matrix of their activities. The strength of this story is in showing Gerald’s and Brad’s parallel growth, a slow process that solidly underpins the hilarious (occasionally slapstick) story. Readers learn what’s going on through the dark-skinned Brad’s journal, Gerald’s diary, Master Abelard’s notebook, newspaper articles, and various documents that shed light on both cultures, human and mythic. Most of the satire provides blameless amusement with the exception of a few cheap shots at political correctness in a list of “Forbidden Topics at the University Enchantica.”

Middle-grade readers will be carried along by the buoyancy of the writing, the skillful design, and the humor on almost every page. Egg-ceptionally funny! (Fantasy. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-385-39255-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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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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