Suspend all disbelief and enjoy.

HOW OSCAR INDIGO BROKE THE UNIVERSE (AND PUT IT BACK TOGETHER AGAIN)

Sweet-natured, warmhearted Oscar Indigo just wants to help his multiethnic baseball team win the championship.

Oscar is no star player; in fact, he’s a bench warmer who’s never had a hit. He comes to possess a very powerful watch, one that can stop time. But when he uses it to freeze time for 19 seconds, enabling him to engineer a fake home run and become a hero, that small amount of lost time has astounding repercussions. There are flying dinosaurs, a tsunami, and, most frightening, a second sun appearing in the sky. Oscar must accomplish several tasks in order to reverse the trouble he has caused and avert further disaster. There are some wonderfully eccentric characters who aid him, including his teammate Lourdes, who becomes his friend and ally; octogenarian Miss Eleanor Ethel Ellington, who may have struck out Babe Ruth; and Dr. Smiley, the keeper of the universe. The fast-paced, totally engrossing tale is told with great attention to detail, pausing for flashbacks that allow Oscar to learn about and even witness events long past. He also deals with issues of bullying and cheating, all without losing his essential goodness. Teague weaves the tale with gentle expressions of teamwork, friendship, honesty, and compassion. Fantasy feels real, and it all works beautifully. The narrative is written with a white default, ethnicity conveyed in naming conventions; Lourdes, for instance, is implied to be Filipina-American.

Suspend all disbelief and enjoy. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-237749-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

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.

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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