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


From the More Than a Princess series , Vol. 2

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. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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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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However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the...


At a time when death has become an acceptable, even voguish subject in children's fiction, Natalie Babbitt comes through with a stylistic gem about living forever. 

Protected Winnie, the ten-year-old heroine, is not immortal, but when she comes upon young Jesse Tuck drinking from a secret spring in her parents' woods, she finds herself involved with a family who, having innocently drunk the same water some 87 years earlier, haven't aged a moment since. Though the mood is delicate, there is no lack of action, with the Tucks (previously suspected of witchcraft) now pursued for kidnapping Winnie; Mae Tuck, the middle aged mother, striking and killing a stranger who is onto their secret and would sell the water; and Winnie taking Mae's place in prison so that the Tucks can get away before she is hanged from the neck until....? Though Babbitt makes the family a sad one, most of their reasons for discontent are circumstantial and there isn't a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from their fate or Winnie's decision not to share it. 

However the compelling fitness of theme and event and the apt but unexpected imagery (the opening sentences compare the first week in August when this takes place to "the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning") help to justify the extravagant early assertion that had the secret about to be revealed been known at the time of the action, the very earth "would have trembled on its axis like a beetle on a pin." (Fantasy. 9-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1975

ISBN: 0312369816

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1975

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