With a story like an old-fashioned episode of Star Trek, this is a wonderful science-fiction introduction for young readers.

ALIEN ESCAPE

From the Geronimo Stilton Spacemice series , Vol. 1

Explore space with Geronimo Stiltonix, futuristic analog of the familiar Geronimo Stilton.

Geronimo Stiltonix, captain of the prestigious MouseStar 1, “would rather be writing novels than steering a spaceship.” His crew’s made up of, in part, other familiar Stilton characters with -ix added to their last names, the personal assistant robot Assistatrix and all-purpose robot Robotix. He may be captain, but Geronimo is the last to find out that his spaceship is in danger of exploding. To stabilize the engine, they must obtain the rare element tetrastellium. Luckily, a nearby planet, Rattos, might have some. Upon arriving, they are hailed by friendly pink mousoids who offer them tetrastellium. But their tetrastellium is pink instead of the customary blue. Even stranger, despite the great value and rarity of tetrastellium, the pink mousoids refuse any payment but friendship. Suspicious, Geronimo and a team go to Rattos’ surface on reconnaissance. Sure enough, strange pink happenings onboard the ship presage the takeover of the control room by an evil, sentient mass of pink goo. It takes clever thinking by the away team to defeat the goo and save the ship. The format includes the customary Stilton staples: wild types and colors, playful illustrations and sidebars that elaborate on aspects of the fictional world.

With a story like an old-fashioned episode of Star Trek, this is a wonderful science-fiction introduction for young readers. (the spacemice creed) (Graphic science fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 29, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64650-5

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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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With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after.

RISE OF THE EARTH DRAGON

From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

Drake has been selected by the king to serve as a Dragon Master, quite a change for an 8-year-old farmer boy.

The dragons are a secret, and the reason King Roland has them is a mystery, but what is clear is that the Dragon Stone has identified Drake as one of the rare few children who have a special connection with dragons and the ability to serve as a trainer. Drake’s dragon is a long brown creature with, at first, no particular talents that Drake can identify. He calls the dragon Worm. It isn’t long before Drake begins to realize he has a very strong connection with Worm and can share what seem to be his dragon’s thoughts. After one of the other Dragon Masters decides to illicitly take the dragons outside, disaster strikes. The cave they are passing through collapses, blocking the passageway, and then Worm’s special talent becomes evident. The first of a new series of early chapter books, this entry is sure to attract fans. Brief chapters, large print, lots of action, attractive illustrations in every spread, including a maplike panorama, an enviable protagonist—who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?—all combine to make an entertaining read.

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64624-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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