Readers will find that this darkly intriguing faery story has an appealingly grounded hero.


Discovering his true identity, a young grave robber uses his particular skills to help faeries trapped in Victorian London.

Thomas spends nights assisting his father, Silas, who steals valuables from graves. On the eve of his 12th birthday, Thomas finds a corpse that looks exactly like him in a fresh grave with a paper saying: “My name is Thistle.” After Silas confesses he found Thomas curled up on a grave as a baby, Thomas encounters Deadnettle, a “bizarre, frail faery,” who has been waiting to tell him about his real mother, Wintercress, the faery queen. Thirteen years before, an evil spiritualist, Mordecai, lured the faeries to London, forcing them to communicate with dead spirits in his séances. Barred from returning to the faery realm, the faeries are slowly dying. Wintercress’ other son, Thistle, died trying to open the gateway. Last of the royal line, Thomas remains their only hope to escape. “Not a faery and not a human,” Thomas valiantly rallies to outwit Mordecai. Deliberate pacing takes readers back and forth between Thomas, as his awareness emerges, and Deadnettle, as he waits doubtfully. The spiritualist element and the graveyard settings conjure a macabre atmosphere for this unusual tale of unexpected origins and extraordinary loyalties.

Readers will find that this darkly intriguing faery story has an appealingly grounded hero. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-9882-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.


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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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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