From the More Than a Princess series , Vol. 2

Strictly for princess-culture devotees with a high boredom threshold.

In the series’ second installment, Princess Aislin draws on her pedrasi powers to confront a powerful enemy.

Exploring Mount Gora’s tunnels at the behest of her royal pedrasi grandfather, Aislin discovers vicious trolls collecting dragons’ eggs for a mysterious being they refer to as “her.” Using pedrasi powers to dispatch the trolls—with help from cavern-dwelling spriggans—Aislin, her guards, and her doll friend, Twinket, return to the pedrasi palace. On the way they meet angry fairies, upset that Aislin’s royal fairy grandparents are moving to the human world and opening the borders for humans to enter the magic realms. Asked to help with the transition, Aislin travels to the fairy palace, where, ignoring relentless lobbying from fairy wannabes, she selects her own multispecies ladies-in-waiting, provoking more fairy ire. Her royal relatives, too, realize mischief’s afoot. When, after the move, human nobles visit—including odious Rory and Aislin’s friend Tomas—events prove harm is intended, but by whom? After a strong opening, the story quickly loses steam, remaining flat and nearly action-free until the final 30 pages. Exciting events are summarized, not shown. The author’s tendency to repeat what readers already know in dialogue that’s long on introductory greetings and action summaries and short on plot advancement and character development doesn’t help. Aislin’s gifts—exceptional magical powers, wide popularity, and prodigious beauty—deprive her of challenges, leaching her story of suspense. Human characters default to white; nonhuman but human-seeming Aislin has brown skin and long, dark hair.

Strictly for princess-culture devotees with a high boredom threshold. (Fantasy. 8-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68119-769-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 11

Dizzyingly silly.

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 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014


From the Wild Robot series , Vol. 2

If not as effervescent as Roz’s first outing, it is still a provocatively contemplative one.

Roz, a robot who learned to adapt to life among wild creatures in her first outing, seeks to return to the island she calls home.

Brown’s sequel to The Wild Robot(2016) continues an intriguing premise: What would happen to a robot after challenges in an unexpected environment cause it to evolve in unusual ways? As this book opens, Roz is delivered to a farm where she helps a widower with two young children run a dairy operation that has been in his family for generations. Roz reveals her backstory to the cows, who are supportive of the robot’s determination to return to the island and to her adopted son, the goose Brightbill. The cows, the children, and finally Brightbill himself come to Roz’s aid. The focus on Roz’s escape from human control results in a somewhat solemn and episodic narrative, with an extended journey and chase after Roz leaves the farm. Dr. Molovo, a literal deus ex machina, appears near the end of the story to provide a means of rescue. She is Roz’s designer/creator, and, intrigued by the robot’s adaptation and evolution but cognizant of the threat that those achievements might represent to humans, she assists Roz and Brightbill in their quest. The satisfactory (if inevitable-feeling) conclusion may prompt discussion about individual agency and determination, whether for robots or people.

If not as effervescent as Roz’s first outing, it is still a provocatively contemplative one. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-38204-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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