A good choice for fun, effortless learning.


From the Histronauts series

Three children are transported to ancient Egypt in this fact-filled graphic novel.

Luna, an 8-year-old white girl with long, turquoise braids, Nani, a 7-year-old black girl with short, straight, white hair that swoops upward, and Newton, a 10-year-old white boy, are excited to visit the museum. When the three “histronauts” (and their cat, Hero) enter the ancient Egypt exhibit and Nani touches a papyrus display, they find themselves dressed in cultural robes, facing a brown-skinned woman on the banks of the Nile who’s collecting papyrus for her husband, the scribe. The children are barely surprised (they tell her, “We’re exploring!” and “I think we might be lost”). The woman, who is a priestess, brings the group with her to various places, including the Valley of the Kings, a secret village where craftspeople work in the valley’s tombs, her own home, and a temple. Through the journey, knowledgeable Luna and the casual hosts teach Nani and Newton about the culture while additional pages of activities teach readers how to make a sundial, play a game of senet, make Egyptian flatbread, and more. The varied format, with story interspersed with facts and activities, makes for an engaging presentation of a significant amount of material, though some activities are more interesting than others. The clean art makes fine use of ancient Egyptian aesthetics.

A good choice for fun, effortless learning. (quiz, glossary, timeline) (Graphic fiction/nonfiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63163-240-2

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Jolly Fish Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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A brisk if bland offering for series fans, but cleverer metafictive romps abound.


From the How To Catch… series

The titular cookie runs off the page at a bookstore storytime, pursued by young listeners and literary characters.

Following on 13 previous How To Catch… escapades, Wallace supplies sometimes-tortured doggerel and Elkerton, a set of helter-skelter cartoon scenes. Here the insouciant narrator scampers through aisles, avoiding a series of elaborate snares set by the racially diverse young storytime audience with help from some classic figures: “Alice and her mad-hat friends, / as a gift for my unbirthday, / helped guide me through the walls of shelves— / now I’m bound to find my way.” The literary helpers don’t look like their conventional or Disney counterparts in the illustrations, but all are clearly identified by at least a broad hint or visual cue, like the unnamed “wizard” who swoops in on a broom to knock over a tower labeled “Frogwarts.” Along with playing a bit fast and loose with details (“Perhaps the boy with the magic beans / saved me with his cow…”) the author discards his original’s lip-smacking climax to have the errant snack circling back at last to his book for a comfier sort of happily-ever-after.

A brisk if bland offering for series fans, but cleverer metafictive romps abound. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-0935-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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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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