An unmissable adventure of mythical proportions.

RISE OF THE HALFLING KING

From the Tales of the Feathered Serpent series , Vol. 1

A halfling child challenges a cruel king for the throne.

Almah, an apprentice witch in Kabak, a city in the Yucatan Peninsula, receives from the elfin beings known as Aluxes a magic stone and a drum that “will announce the true king of Uxmal.” As years go by, Kinich Kak Ek takes the throne in Uxmal, but the sorcerer Zaatan Ik prophesies a challenger: Not born of a woman, the usurper will take Kinich Kak Ek’s throne once he bangs the kingmaker drum and conquers three challenges. Unbothered by the prophecy, the king annexes neighboring cities and imposes on them rules and punishments. Almah asks the gods for help for her people and receives a response in the shape of an Alux halfling boy, Sayam, who hatches from an egg. When Zaatan Ik releases on a defiant city a serpent from the underworld, he sets in motion a series of events that will change Sayam’s fate along with the rest of Uxmal. In the first of 10 graphic novels to adapt his work Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky (2018), David Bowles pairs up with illustrator Charlene Bowles to bring Mesoamerican heroes to life. With seemingly simple yet vivid illustrations characterized by strong, dynamic lines, the illustrator develops cunning and endearing characters to populate this enticing tale. In an afterword, the author shares the historical significance of Maya storytelling and its connection to today’s graphic novels.

An unmissable adventure of mythical proportions. (Graphic fantasy. 8-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947627-37-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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Dizzyingly silly.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TYRANNICAL RETALIATION OF THE TURBO TOILET 2000

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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