Although the tone is decidedly different from her earlier work, Voigt’s writing remains masterful, and her attention...


A group of toys lives together on an island, ironing out their differences and sharing small adventures.

At the center is Teddy, a thoughtful bear who is somewhat the worse for wear (he lacks legs). He’s cared for by Umpah, an elephant who loves to bake. Their neighbors include Zia and Prinny, an apparently unrelated pair of pigs who nevertheless enjoy a warm mother-daughter relationship, Sid, an always-hungry but not-the-least-bit-threatening snake, and Peng, a standoffish wooden penguin. Newcomers who shake things up a bit are Mr. B., a stuffed rabbit who thinks of himself as “sleek and selfish and sharp” despite his cuddly appearance, and Clara, a grandly dressed, large white doll whose imperious demands create consternation. Together they explore their environment, master some useful skills, figure out how to live democratically, and eat a lot of muffins. Occasionally old-fashioned language (“Oh dear, oh dearie me” is Zia’s repeated refrain), a leisurely pace, and limited action suggest that this may be most successful as a read-aloud. The illustrations (most not seen) will likely help connect readers to the characters.

Although the tone is decidedly different from her earlier work, Voigt’s writing remains masterful, and her attention continues to be on what makes a family, how we can live together in harmony, and how individuals overcome their difficulties . (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-51160-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.


From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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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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