Once again, it’s Wedgie Power to the rescue, in a book subtitled “And the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds).” When aliens Zorx, Klax, and Jennifer launch their invasion of Earth by converting the students and teachers of the Jerome Horwitz Elementary School into an army of zombies with pocket protectors, it’s up to inveterate troublemakers George and Harold, with their feckless ally Captain Underpants (he’s the mean principal’s alter-ego), to save the planet. The deed is done in a crowd-pleasing welter of plot twists and bathroom humor, wisecracks and free shots at school food; Pilkey’s black-and-white cartoons move from crudely-drawn comic books created by the boys to pages that readers are required to flip back and forth for an animated effect. As in the previous appearances of Captain Underpants (The Adventures of Captain Underpants, 1997, etc.), this gross but not gruesome adventure will have fans looking forward to the upcoming (and obviously perfectly tasteful) Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-439-04995-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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Kurtz (I’m Sorry, Almira Ann, 1999, etc.) turns personal disaster into a universally affecting book about the 1997 flooding of the Red River in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Pictures and text catapult readers into the experience of loss when a river swells higher than anyone could have imagined and floods a town. Fleeing her home, the narrator leaves her cat behind and spends much of the flood’s aftermath missing her “motor-stomach Kiwi cat” as her family sleeps on the shelter’s hard cots; knows that “someday I’ll do the same for someone else” as she accepts provisions others have anonymously donated and delivered; sifts through the family’s sodden Christmas box to find mostly useless evidence of happy memories; and sees the unutterable mess and loss of all that is home, which will finally, ironically, be washed away by a new, life-saving dike. The beautifully articulate poems chronicle as well the loss of a good neighborhood, one where people save a cat because they can and it’s a good thing to do, just as they would, in happier times, have loaned a cup of sugar. Without sentimentality, the book speaks of loss as elemental as the force bringing it and of survival of equal magnitude. Brennan’s stylish oils, sometimes framed on a page, sometimes in full-bleed pages or spreads, capture and express this blend of specific universality. A book that belongs on every shelf in buildings up and down the country’s riverways. (Picture book/poetry. 5-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-82049-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.


A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Auch (Eggs Mark the Spot, 1996, etc.) offers up an audacious tale starring a unusual band of anthropomorphic creatures. Clara, a young farm duck about to experience her first winter, becomes insatiably curious when she hears the other barnyard animals discussing Christmas. Impatient and determined to solve the mystery surrounding this event, she sets out on her own, which leads to a series of funny encounters, mistaken identities, and even some danger. After a narrow escape from a hungry fox, Clara returns home to find the holiday festivities in full swing. Amidst cows and sheep in tutus, Clara learns that Christmas is about being surrounded by loved ones. Auch’s illustrations provide droll counterpoints to the text: Clara’s mountain at the top of the world is really a haystack in a field, the ferocious beast with large eyes is an abandoned farm vehicle, etc. Those who revel in Auch’s unique brand of quips, jests, and irreverent humor will not be disappointed, and newcomers will just laugh themselves silly. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-8234-1524-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1999

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