A fitting farewell packed with action, humor, and heart.


From the Perilous Journey of Danger and Mayhem series , Vol. 3

A Perilous Journey of Danger and Mayhem enters its final leg in this trilogy closer.

After The Treacherous Seas (2019), Molly Pepper; her inventor mother, Cassandra; her best friend, Emmett; Emmett’s long-lost-but-recently-found father, Capt. Wendell Lee; and sentient robot Robot are headed back to America. They face an assuredly bad reception, with three out of the five wanted fugitives, the captain a legal citizen but unable to prove it under the racist climate of the Chinese Exclusion Act, and Robot arguably someone else’s property. In between the wacky hijinks of sneaking into the country and evading arrest, tension arises from Molly’s and Emmett’s uncertainty about whether his family reunion spells their imminent separation. The kids are prompted into action in the second act when a clue in a newspaper reveals their nemesis, Ambrose Rector, is back and planning something big. Parental reluctance to get involved leads to Molly, Emmett, and Robot’s sneaking off to Washington, D.C., to thwart Rector (which requires first figuring out his plan) and includes a delightful heist at the Smithsonian and tracking down the Mothers of Invention. Reversals and betrayals open the final act of the story. Despite his silliness and tendency toward monologue, Rector’s an effective villain because he plausibly stays a step ahead of the heroes and even makes good points during the final showdown. The alternate-history epilogue dazzles. Emmett and his father are Chinese; most other characters default to White.

A fitting farewell packed with action, humor, and heart. (afterword) (Historical fantasy. 8-14)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-234203-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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Dizzyingly silly.


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


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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