A quick read with a solid plot, but it’s certainly more educational than literary.

THE CAPTAIN'S CHEST

From the Mogi Franklin Mysteries series , Vol. 8

In this eighth series outing, Mogi Franklin and his older sister, Jennifer, are spending their summer in the Caribbean—on St. John, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, to be exact.

The Caribbean is a much different place than their hometown of Bluff, Utah. The take-it-easy pace, musical accents, and incessant humidity require a bit of an adjustment. Jennifer is working at a resort, and Mogi is tagging along. Initially, Mogi hopes to discover a long-lost treasure chest, but then he learns of Oscar Padilla, a billionaire set on bringing an amusement park to St. John, much to the chagrin of the locals. Padilla’s land has been sitting largely undeveloped for two years. The lack of activity seems suspicious, and Mogi soon abandons his quest for treasure to investigate. As the Franklins seek to uncover the truth, Padilla notices their activities. How far will Padilla go to protect his secrets, and how fast can Mogi discover them before returning to Utah? As the story unfolds, Willerton provides generous details about the environment, history, and industry of the Virgin Islands, whereas the characters can occasionally read flat, especially Jennifer. The use of “mon” and “de” to indicate Caribbean dialect comes off as stale and veers into caricature, and Willerton avoids mentioning race, with the result that his Virgin Islands are default white, like the Franklins.

A quick read with a solid plot, but it’s certainly more educational than literary. (Adventure. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-948749-04-6

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Terra Nova

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

The series keeps cruising along…though iffy casting may be an early sign that it’s losing steam.

SPY SCHOOL AT SEA

From the Spy School series , Vol. 9

In a new caper, the Spy School team thwarts a fiendish scheme on the high seas.

A fresh chance to catch up to world-class gourmand and perennial foe Murray Hill plants dogged CIA junior agent Ben Ripley and associates—including markedly more competent classmate Erica Hale and her equally able mom, Catherine—aboard the Emperor of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, for a fresh round of ridiculously destructive chases, startling twists, and repeated attempts on the hapless young spy’s life that are somehow always averted in the nick of time. Along with adding a grandfatherly, eco-conscious Costa Rican drug lord to the supporting cast, Gibbs flirts with stereotypes by trotting in, among the few characters who don’t at least present as White, a Chinese teen given to muddling her English idioms, her bling-loving mother, and a chipper shipboard event manager of Australian Indigenous descent. Still, the revved-up plot will leave readers as breathless as Ben is in the wake of a final, unexpected turn in his relationship with Erica. Finally, finally nabbing the slobby supervillain (at least for now) as well as saving the lives of hundreds of oblivious, hard-partying onboard tourists must count for something.

The series keeps cruising along…though iffy casting may be an early sign that it’s losing steam. (Thriller. 10-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7943-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more