An enchanting, gently humorous all-ages family read-aloud.

KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE

A young witch makes her way in the world, encountering adventure and friendship along the way.

On her coming-of-age day, 13-year-old Kiki and her talking black cat, Jiji, fly on her broom to find a town in need of a witch. Kiki settles in Koriko, a busy, seaside city. The citizens aren’t used to witches, but Kiki’s charming, helpful nature eventually wins them over as they come to rely on her titular business. Whether she’s saving swimmers at the beach, delivering a secret love note, or ensuring the success of the New Year’s celebration, Kiki’s first year in Koriko is anything but dull! Readers may already be familiar with Kiki from Hayao Miyazaki’s 1989 film version. Originally published in Japan in 1985, the book first appeared in the U.S. with illustrations by Akiko Hayashi and in a translation by Lynne E. Riggs. This new translation from Balistrieri is descriptive and whimsical, and both characters’ names and their appearances in Onoda’s anime-inflected illustrations create a Japanese-inspired fantasy world. The characters’ quirkiness creates the feeling that Kiki’s future will be filled with countless friends and adventures. There are mishaps galore but never any real danger, as Kiki always finds a solution using creativity, intelligence, and a dash of magic. Families looking for a book to share will appreciate the episodic chapters.

An enchanting, gently humorous all-ages family read-aloud. (Fantasy. 5-12)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9666-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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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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We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.

THE BAD GUYS

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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