From the B.E.S.T. World series , Vol. 2

Ace and his boxmates return, and in this follow-up to 2021’s Ace Takes Flight, they aim to rescue their missing friend.

After racing off in search of their boxmate, Grayson, following a signal from his augment, Ace, Leo, and Jayla are stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with no rescue in sight. As a last resort, Jayla sends off a message to her parents—high-ranking members of the Resistance whom she hasn’t seen since she ran away to join the B.E.S.T program. Following their dramatic rescue, the trio ends up on a deepscraper that they suspect acts as Resistance headquarters. Leo and Ace are sent back to the Tower of Power to resume classes, while Jayla is left behind to work on regaining trust in her parents. However, Leo has made finding Grayson their obsession, leading them to make some risky decisions. All of this culminates in a shocking twist that will leave readers on the edges of their seats. The author provides the ideal amount of description to keep readers engaged with this page-turning adventure that features lead characters who are diverse across many dimensions of identity. The characterization is strengthened by the third-person narration in which the delineation between the varying perspectives is clear as the young people work through their individual burdens. The well-crafted logic for the technology adds to the atmosphere.

An engrossing sequel. (pick your perfect aug) (Science fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-358-36214-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Clarion/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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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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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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