Enjoyable but not exceptional fare for d’Lacey’s fans and readers of Tui T. Sutherland’s dragon books.

THE WEARLE

From the The Erth Dragons series , Vol. 1

Young dragon Gabrial and young human Ren cross paths, uncover a hidden evil, and unravel a mystery.

Gabrial is excited to battle an older, more experienced dragon for the honor of helping raise Grystina’s new hatchlings, though his second heart belongs to another. During the fight, the mountain Grystina and her wearlings are sheltering in explodes—and Gabrial is unjustly blamed for Grystina’s subsequent death and the assumed death of her son. The narrative switches to Ren, a 12-year old human, who’s fascinated with the “skalers” though they’ve driven his people from their mountain home. Pale-skinned Ren dares to cross the “scorch line” into dragon territory, coming upon Grystina and her wearlings moments before she’s killed. She has just enough time to transfer a part of herself to Ren, who saves her son. What follows is a lot of shady business among dragonkind, though members of both species make rash and illogical decisions. Truths are revealed, but not everyone lives to learn them. Both protagonists can be impetuous but are still sympathetic, and a new character introduced in the final pages promises intrigue in future volumes. The creative spin on the intersection of dragon history and prehistoric humans is interesting and the action engaging.

Enjoyable but not exceptional fare for d’Lacey’s fans and readers of Tui T. Sutherland’s dragon books.   (list of characters, glossary) (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-90018-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

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 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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Poignant, respectful, and historically accurate while pulsating with emotional turmoil, adventure, and suspense.

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REFUGEE

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Three countries, three time periods, three brave protagonists. Yet these three refugee odysseys have so much in common. Each traverses a landscape ruled by a dictator and must balance freedom, family, and responsibility. Each initially leaves by boat, struggles between visibility and invisibility, copes with repeated obstacles and heart-wrenching loss, and gains resilience in the process. Each third-person narrative offers an accessible look at migration under duress, in which the behavior of familiar adults changes unpredictably, strangers exploit the vulnerabilities of transients, and circumstances seem driven by random luck. Mahmoud eventually concludes that visibility is best: “See us….Hear us. Help us.” With this book, Gratz accomplishes a feat that is nothing short of brilliant, offering a skillfully wrought narrative laced with global and intergenerational reverberations that signal hope for the future. Excellent for older middle grade and above in classrooms, book groups, and/or communities looking to increase empathy for new and existing arrivals from afar.

Poignant, respectful, and historically accurate while pulsating with emotional turmoil, adventure, and suspense. (maps, author’s note) (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: July 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-88083-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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