Starclan willing, this series will continue.

Thoughtful, asthmatic cat Nightpelt is banned—along with most of his elders—from living with the rest of the feral cat tribe Shadowclan—and soon becomes the de facto leader of the exiles.

Jolley and Barry have produced another amazing graphic novel. Warriors fans and new readers alike will enjoy following Nightpelt’s musings and actions as he helps his group figure out how to survive the upcoming Leaf-bare, or winter, and worries over the behavior of Brokenstar—Shadowclan’s new, bullying leader—whom he ultimately has a personal face-off with. In both the text and clean, dramatic, full-color art, the balance between typical cat behavior and the transparently human thoughts, emotions, and even ideologies expressed by the clan cats is exquisitely portrayed. One small example lies in how the storyline integrates the tale of a depressed mother cat, grieving her dead kitten, whose eventual healing is represented by her return to stalking small mammals and contributing their corpses to the community’s food supply. More pointed is the reprehensible idea of kittens as child warriors. While experiencing the exciting plot’s twists and turns, readers will simultaneously ponder larger questions about violence, power, codes of law, community values, metaphysics, and individuals finding their niches. Despite the deep and serious themes, humor abounds—especially in the frequent wordplay that translates common human expressions into feline terms. The satisfying ending hints of further drama.

Starclan willing, this series will continue. (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-304327-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: HarperAlley

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022


From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

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

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 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012


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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