With the emphasis on mystery and action rather than history, à la Magic Tree House, this new chapter-book series will appeal...

THE MYSTERIOUS MOONSTONE

From the Key Hunters series , Vol. 1

In this series opener, Cleo and Evan find themselves transported back in time to Victorian England to solve the crime of a stolen diamond.

In investigating the odd behavior of their new school librarian, Ms. Crowley, schoolmates Cleo and Evan discover a secret underground library. Lying on the table is an ornate book called The Case of the Mysterious Moonstone, with a key sticking out of its open, diarylike lock. They also find a note from their previous librarian, the beloved Ms. Hilliard, telling them, “If you have found this note, I am trapped somewhere between the covers of these enchanted books.” Opening the book, they suddenly find themselves in 19th-century London, where they realize they must help the bumbling young detective Artie Baker solve the case of a stolen diamond. Although the text has no physical descriptions of the young friends, the illustrations show Evan as black and Cleo as white. The mystery is set up much like a classic Agatha Christie (or a game of Clue): the suspects are all at the home of Col. Musgrave, and they must be questioned quickly. One of the suspects is Kumar, the bearded, turbaned butler; he speaks perfect English, but the illustration smacks of 19th-century exoticism.

With the emphasis on mystery and action rather than history, à la Magic Tree House, this new chapter-book series will appeal to junior detectives. (Mystery. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-82205-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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Dizzyingly silly.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TYRANNICAL RETALIATION OF THE TURBO TOILET 2000

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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With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after.

RISE OF THE EARTH DRAGON

From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

Drake has been selected by the king to serve as a Dragon Master, quite a change for an 8-year-old farmer boy.

The dragons are a secret, and the reason King Roland has them is a mystery, but what is clear is that the Dragon Stone has identified Drake as one of the rare few children who have a special connection with dragons and the ability to serve as a trainer. Drake’s dragon is a long brown creature with, at first, no particular talents that Drake can identify. He calls the dragon Worm. It isn’t long before Drake begins to realize he has a very strong connection with Worm and can share what seem to be his dragon’s thoughts. After one of the other Dragon Masters decides to illicitly take the dragons outside, disaster strikes. The cave they are passing through collapses, blocking the passageway, and then Worm’s special talent becomes evident. The first of a new series of early chapter books, this entry is sure to attract fans. Brief chapters, large print, lots of action, attractive illustrations in every spread, including a maplike panorama, an enviable protagonist—who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?—all combine to make an entertaining read.

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64624-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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