A just-scary-enough adventure that might send readers to investigate more about real-life “calendar houses” like Amelia’s...

THE HOUSE OF MONTHS AND YEARS

An awkward protagonist takes on an unconventional “haunted” house in this dark middle-grade fantasy from England.

Of course 10-year-old Amelia felt very sorry for her cousins after their parents died. But it was still completely unfair that she would have to say goodbye to her own best friend, leave her own perfect home, even share her own parents, and come to live in this horrid old house with 12 rooms and four stories. However, she soon discovers that the house is special, and once she meets not-a-ghost Horatio, who takes her on the most amazing adventures across space and time…why, that makes Amelia special too. But is the price of magic worth it? Amelia’s voice—prickly, vain, selfish, book-loving, desperately lonely, and almost as clever as she thinks she is—dominates the narrative. While ethnicity is never mentioned, every character appears to be white and professional class. As clues to the house’s real nature and Horatio’s secret agenda slowly accumulate behind the exciting (if historically inaccurate) time-traveling set pieces, a sense of menacing dread develops subtly through sinister metaphors and gruesome imagery until it is almost too late. If Amelia’s change of heart feels abrupt and her cousins’ sudden cooperation unbelievable, her solution to their dire peril is both quick-witted and satisfying.

A just-scary-enough adventure that might send readers to investigate more about real-life “calendar houses” like Amelia’s new one. (Horror. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6255-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE REVOLTING REVENGE OF THE RADIOACTIVE ROBO-BOXERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 10

Zipping back and forth in time atop outsized robo–bell bottoms, mad inventor Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) legs his way to center stage in this slightly less-labored continuation of episode 9.

The action commences after a rambling recap and a warning not to laugh or smile on pain of being forced to read Sarah Plain and Tall. Pilkey first sends his peevish protagonist back a short while to save the Earth (destroyed in the previous episode), then on to various prehistoric eras in pursuit of George, Harold and the Captain. It’s all pretty much an excuse for many butt jokes, dashes of off-color humor (“Tippy pressed the button on his Freezy-Beam 4000, causing it to rise from the depths of his Robo-Pants”), a lengthy wordless comic and two tussles in “Flip-o-rama.” Still, the chase kicks off an ice age, the extinction of the dinosaurs and the Big Bang (here the Big “Ka-Bloosh!”). It ends with a harrowing glimpse of what George and Harold would become if they decided to go straight. The author also chucks in a poopy-doo-doo song with musical notation (credited to Albert P. Einstein) and plenty of ink-and-wash cartoon illustrations to crank up the ongoing frenzy.

Series fans, at least, will take this outing (and clear evidence of more to come) in stride. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-17536-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

LEGACY AND THE DOUBLE

From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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