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THE PERILOUS PERFORMANCE AT MILKWEED MEADOW

Whimsical, witty, wise.

Lovable lagomorph and remarkable raconteur Butternut details how the denizens of Milkweed Meadow narrowly missed a night of terror.

“I know you’re here for the story of the fearsome fire in the oak forest.” As in The Remarkable Rescue at Milkweed Meadow (2023), Butternut immediately hooks readers. She then weaves a spellbinding tale that includes animal characters as well as Thalia, the “little female human” who’s secretly friends with Butternut. An acting troupe of wild turkeys—led by the eloquent Monty, who speaks in a Shakespearean cadence—have come to invite the meadow animals to take part in their summer show. Unfortunately, Butternut’s the only auditioning rabbit from her colony not to be cast. While she deals with disappointment, other developments arise. Will the blue jays let the turkeys use their eggs as props in the show? Why is that young gobbler Franklin so bad-tempered? Should the local rabbits, birds, and frogs be concerned about a circling hawk and a hovering raccoon? Are humans trustworthy? Suspense builds to a narrowly averted crisis that’s much darker than in the previous tale, but all’s well that ends well. Dimopoulos is as gifted a storyteller as her endearing hero, and she deftly folds in alliteration, theater terms, nature facts, and sparkling humor. Butternut’s musings and observations are thought provoking and perceptive. Thalia appears light-skinned in Salati’s delightful spot art.

Whimsical, witty, wise. (map) (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: yesterday

ISBN: 9781623544270

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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THE BAD GUYS

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

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

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. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TYRANNICAL RETALIATION OF THE TURBO TOILET 2000

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

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