A tale with vivid illustrations and an engaging dog protagonist.

CUTIE’S BIG ADVENTURES

CUTIE MEETS MR. LIZARD

In this children’s picture book, a daring Chihuahua escapes through an open window and makes a new friend.

Cutie, a curious canine, lives with her human “mom,” 6-year-old Ava Rose. Both wish that the girl could stay home and play, but she must go to school. One morning, Cutie gets bored with her same old puppy food and decides to find something more interesting to do (and eat). In the desert, Cutie meets a green, long-tailed lizard. Once Mr. Lizard realizes Cutie is simply playing, not hunting, they become friendly, and he invites her home for lunch. Cutie doesn’t care for live ants, though, and wishes that she’d eaten her breakfast. After some games, Cutie gets home in time to greet Ava Rose and eat some now-appreciated puppy food. Debut author Di John develops an appealing idea: what adventures do our pets have when we’re not at home? Her story offers a good balance of danger and excitement on the one hand and friendly affection on the other. (However, adults should be sure to tell kids not to leave a window open for their pets.) Gaylor (Asthma Is Not Stopping Me, Featuring Fabulous Me, 2016, etc.) provides expressive, three-dimensional illustrations that give the book a cartoonish brightness and beautifully bring out the desert setting.

A tale with vivid illustrations and an engaging dog protagonist.

Pub Date: May 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9987568-0-6

Page Count: -

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2017

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Only for dedicated fans of the series.

HOW TO CATCH A MONSTER

From the How To Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

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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