A quick-witted and amusing outer-space escapade.


In Horn’s debut children’s SF novel, a human third grader, adopted by aliens, has various adventures.

For young Eudora Jenkins, life aboard the spaceship Athenais a daily challenge to make mischief. During a class field trip, she seeks to fire the ship’s plasma cannons, perhaps the most important weapons in the entire space fleet. Her detailed plan includes the use of a hypersonic shocking device she invented, but its execution lands her in the brig and in trouble with her mother. Eudora and her conscientious older sister are human and were adopted at a young age by Wilma, a doglike alien from the planet Pox, and Max, from the planet Pow, who’s close to an octopus in appearance. Eudora’s next endeavor is to engineer the Athenato pass 10 on the HyperDrive-O-Meter, which has never been done before. However, she aspires to be an officer in the AstroFleet one day, and although her love of science and math are well suited for such a career, will her rebellious experiments keep her from her dreams? Horn’s fast-paced, space-themed drama will intrigue and entertain young readers. Eudora’s quirky but focused perspective allows curious kids to ponder the possibilities of life on a spaceship, and her authentic narration is quick and witty. The protagonist’s passion for knowledge is equaled by her energy and ambition, making her a strong role model. Shipman’s illustrations complement the story’s tone and ably portray its uncommon elements. The plot is lighthearted in its approach; however, as a result, Eudora faces few consequences for her pranks, and she seems to achieve her lofty goal a bit too easily. And although the swift pace will keep readers engaged, it leaves little room to explore Eudora’s thoughts about her relationship with her adoptive parents. Overall, this series starter leaves room for further character development and perhaps more serious adventures.

A quick-witted and amusing outer-space escapade.

Pub Date: July 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73-667740-7

Page Count: 98

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

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A brisk if bland offering for series fans, but cleverer metafictive romps abound.


From the How To Catch… series

The titular cookie runs off the page at a bookstore storytime, pursued by young listeners and literary characters.

Following on 13 previous How To Catch… escapades, Wallace supplies sometimes-tortured doggerel and Elkerton, a set of helter-skelter cartoon scenes. Here the insouciant narrator scampers through aisles, avoiding a series of elaborate snares set by the racially diverse young storytime audience with help from some classic figures: “Alice and her mad-hat friends, / as a gift for my unbirthday, / helped guide me through the walls of shelves— / now I’m bound to find my way.” The literary helpers don’t look like their conventional or Disney counterparts in the illustrations, but all are clearly identified by at least a broad hint or visual cue, like the unnamed “wizard” who swoops in on a broom to knock over a tower labeled “Frogwarts.” Along with playing a bit fast and loose with details (“Perhaps the boy with the magic beans / saved me with his cow…”) the author discards his original’s lip-smacking climax to have the errant snack circling back at last to his book for a comfier sort of happily-ever-after.

A brisk if bland offering for series fans, but cleverer metafictive romps abound. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-0935-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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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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