Like Sam with those hot dogs, readers eager to snap up any dino-story will make quick work of this tongue-in-cheek romp.

DINO-MIKE AND THE T. REX ATTACK

From the Dino-Mike series , Vol. 1

The appearance of a live T. Rex near a fossil dig kicks off a wild round of dino-antics in this series kickoff from an Eisner Award–winning comics writer.

Hardly has young Mike donned his high-tech, solar-powered hoodie—a present from his paleontologist dad—than he’s running into Shannon, a mysterious girl wielding awesome futuristic devices, and running in panic from a hungry T. Rex he decides, in a less frantic moment, to name Sam. Secretive about her origins, Shannon enlists Mike, whom she dubs “Dino-Mike” (she herself goes by the less punchy moniker “Triceratops Shannon”), to help her steal a hot dog truck and lure the monster into a force field cage so that it can be sent back to the Cretaceous. Though ultimately successful, the mission is not only complicated by continuing interference from rascally dinosaur collector Jurassic Jeff, but capped, in a closing stunner, with unmistakable evidence that “Sam” was actually “Samantha.” Franco strews his lickety-split escapade with cartoons featuring wide-eyed figures viewed, often, from dramatic angles, leaves loose ends aplenty for sequels, and tacks on a dino-glossary and a set of T. Rex facts at the end.

Like Sam with those hot dogs, readers eager to snap up any dino-story will make quick work of this tongue-in-cheek romp. (Science fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4342-9631-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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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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Ironically, by choosing such a dramatic catalyst, the author weakens the adventure’s impact overall and leaves readers to...

ESCAPE FROM BAXTERS' BARN

A group of talking farm animals catches wind of the farm owner’s intention to burn the barn (with them in it) for insurance money and hatches a plan to flee.

Bond begins briskly—within the first 10 pages, barn cat Burdock has overheard Dewey Baxter’s nefarious plan, and by Page 17, all of the farm animals have been introduced and Burdock is sharing the terrifying news. Grady, Dewey’s (ever-so-slightly) more principled brother, refuses to go along, but instead of standing his ground, he simply disappears. This leaves the animals to fend for themselves. They do so by relying on their individual strengths and one another. Their talents and personalities match their species, bringing an element of realism to balance the fantasy elements. However, nothing can truly compensate for the bland horror of the premise. Not the growing sense of family among the animals, the serendipitous intervention of an unknown inhabitant of the barn, nor the convenient discovery of an alternate home. Meanwhile, Bond’s black-and-white drawings, justly compared to those of Garth Williams, amplify the sense of dissonance. Charming vignettes and single- and double-page illustrations create a pastoral world into which the threat of large-scale violence comes as a shock.

Ironically, by choosing such a dramatic catalyst, the author weakens the adventure’s impact overall and leaves readers to ponder the awkward coincidences that propel the plot. (Animal fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-33217-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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