Armed with humor and heart, these underdogs are ready to step into the spotlight.


From the Super Sidekicks series , Vol. 1

Tired of being overlooked and underestimated, four sidekicks team up to prove they can be heroes in their own rights.

Called together by Junior Justice, “the world’s greatest martial artist,” this motley crew of young crime fighters also includes Flygirl, an acrobatic flyer who can weaponize insects; Dinomite, a creature who can transform into any dinosaur; and unlikely ally Goo. Goo, a large pink blob, is the creation of the villain Dr. Enok and recently escaped imprisonment; he assures the other sidekicks that he’s not evil and only looking for friendship. When the adult superheroes arrive to reclaim their sidekicks, they misjudge Goo’s intentions, and a giant battle ensues. Amid the chaos, Dr. Enok swoops in and kidnaps Goo. The sidekicks formulate a plan to rescue their new friend by combining their individual talents to take down Dr. Enok. This entertaining series opener charms with bright, full-color illustrations and loads of humor. Easy-to-follow panels and action sequences keep the pages turning, and the setting of sunny Sydney, Australia, is a refreshing departure from Gotham-like locales. Junior Justice is cued as Southeast Asian with black hair and light-brown skin, and Flygirl reads White with pale skin and red hair. Most of the adult heroes and Dr. Enok read White.

Armed with humor and heart, these underdogs are ready to step into the spotlight. (drawing tips) (Graphic adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-17505-7

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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


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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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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