Weak writing and an unbelievable story—game over.

READ REVIEW

ROBOTS REVOLT

From the Trapped in a Video Game series , Vol. 3

A boy battles giant robots to save his kidnapped friend.

As this series entry opens, the evil corporation Bionosoft’s system has crashed, and all the kids trapped in their video games are free—but so are the villains. When giant robots from “Super Bot World 3” capture Jesse’s best friend, Eric, Jesse, his classmate Mark, and an Australian girl named Sam risk their lives to rescue him before the bots blast him to the moon. In addition to the robot adversaries, hostile, suited men wielding threats of treason against the United States pursue the children. Readers new to the series might do well to follow instructions in the preface to read the first two books, as this one plunks them down in the middle of the action with just the barest bones of summary. Jesse, Eric, and Mark receive no character description at all apart from depictions in a few interior illustrations, leading to the likely assumption that they are all generic white boys. Sam, on the other hand, wears her hair in a blonde ponytail (according to the text; it’s presented inconsistently in the illustrations) and speaks in a “British-ish accent” or an “Australian way.” The setting includes improbable features, such as a mine underneath the Bionosoft headquarters, that make it a challenge to follow the story (but do make it feel a bit like a video game).

Weak writing and an unbelievable story—game over. (activity) (Science fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4494-9623-4

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Andrews McMeel

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Pippi is an inspired creation knit from daydreams.

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING

A fresh delicious fantasy that children will love.

In the character of 9-year-old Pippi Longstocking, who was lucky to have no parents to tell her what to do, is a juvenile Robin Hood with the authority of Mammy Yokum and a Mighty Mouse. Pippi- red headed, in longstockings (one black and one brown), and the strongest girl in the world was the friend of Tommy and Annika. Calmly and ingeniously she put down the enemy forces of the adult world — with a serene efficiency. The teacher was baffled by her logic in pointing out the futility of learning arithmetic; bullies she hoisted on trees; at the circus Pippi rode bareback, walked the tightrope, and wrestled the wrestling champ; cream and sugar flowed (on the floor) when Pippi attended a ladies' coffee party where she revealed "horrid things" with the complacency of Eliza Doolittle. Champion of fun, freedom and fantasy and long happy thoughts,

Pippi is an inspired creation knit from daydreams.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 1950

ISBN: 978-0-14-030957-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1950

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